The ACLU of Alaska filed suit against Governor Dunleavy to block his administration’s attempt to punish the Alaska Court System by vetoing $334,700 in its 2020 budget because the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in a manner at odds with his political views.
This veto is an impermissible exercise of executive authority that attacks Alaskans’ deep commitment to an independent judiciary, violates Alaska’s constitutional separation of powers, and illegally attempts to reallocate budget appropriations.
“Governor Dunleavy admitted outright that his veto was direct retaliation against the Alaska Court System for a court decision at odds with his political views. That isn’t just petty and vindictive; it is a clear assault on the constitutional power of the judiciary and a grossly inappropriate attempt to use money to coerce judges to a political end,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua A. Decker. He continued, “Alaskans don’t want judges making decisions with an eye on how much money politicians will give them if they rule one way or another. That isn’t how we get justice.”