Update Jan. 30, 2020: ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff will be back in court on April 15, 2020, at 2 p.m. Arguments will proceed in courtroom 30 of the Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage. We anticipate Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson to rule from the bench.

Origional: After careful deliberation, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson has ruled in the name of justice, in support of the separation of powers, and determined that the ACLU of Alaska’s lawsuit against Governor Michael J. Dunleavy should proceed. 

“The court’s ruling is in support of the Constitution, and its guarantee of the equal protection of all people, including poor women,” ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff said. “The decision allows us to continue our work of undoing the injustice caused by Governor Dunleavy’s stunningly brazen attack on our democracy and against Alaskans.” 

The ACLU of Alaska will now ask the court to set a briefing schedule for summary judgment motions. We are pushing for an accelerated schedule, as to reverse Governor Dunleavy’s unlawful veto and order the funds restored to the court system within this fiscal year, ending on June 30, 2020. 

The state has 10 days from the date of the court’s order to respond to the complaint filed by the ACLU of Alaska in July.  

The complaint was filed against Governor Dunleavy following his unprecedented attempt to strongarm the independent judiciary by vetoing $334,700 from the Alaska Court System. Governor Dunleavy issued his veto to punish the Alaska Supreme Court for its February ruling that low-income women have the constitutionally protected right to abortion through Medicaid. This constitutionally sound ruling was at odds with the Governor’s personal and political beliefs.   

The state filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in late July.  

On Nov. 5, Judge Henderson heard more than an hour of oral arguments from the state and the ACLU of Alaska before ultimately denying the state’s motion.