Alaska Chief Justice Joel Bolger’s “State of the Judiciary” address, his recent Alaska Federation of Natives speech and his video posting asking for partisan letters, articles and columns, is a vanilla-flavored foray into raw, unvarnished lobbying unworthy of judicial conduct. If Alaska’s legislators were not already part of the problem and actually understood their own interests, and the state and federal constitutions they are sworn to uphold, they might think clearly enough to realize that all of this is arguably grounds for impeachment.
As I stated in an August 2019 column, the judiciary is having the ACLU sue the governor, directly challenging his veto power. Thus, we will have the courts ruling on issues in which they are an interested party. I cannot think of a more obvious conflict of interest, yet we hear not one peep from the Legislature or the Fourth Estate.
The courts are apparently so deluded that they believe their own propaganda, promoting the myth that they are impartial and neutral referees, while in the same breath they implore the Legislature to restore funding and ask for public and media support. Or perhaps it is worse: They figure that the media and the public will swallow their own claims of victimization in order to proceed with an astonishing attempt at overthrowing the executive and legislative branches.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is his own worst enemy. The engine that pulls the recall train is the ACLU and the abortion lobby, who have found eager allies with other citizens whose cause does not lie with abortion but who want their own public funding to continue. Dunleavy made the mistake of merely wounding the bear with the administrative veto of the judiciary that matches public funding of abortion, something the Legislature has continuously refused to do. He now finds that he has an enraged and clever grizzly stealthily lining up its main chance and waiting to pounce. The death shot would have been for him to announce that the bureaucracy was to ignore the court-ordered funding. Sure, he might have faced a recall in any case with such a bold move, but it would have been perfectly defensible on constitutional grounds alone and he would have had his base rallying to his defense. Instead they are languishing in bewilderment over his own symbolic, lukewarm and incomplete effort.
Dunleavy still has the teaching moment available, when people are paying attention and understand what the issue is, which is far more than abortion. We are in fact watching a coup d’etat take place that will reward the liberal elites with tyrannical power through the only branch they can consistently control. Perhaps he is smarter than us all and will make his move when the low-hanging fruit is completely ripe. And that teaching moment is to declare, conclusively, that the judiciary, on either the federal or state level, is not a co-equal partner but rather the intentionally weakest branch of government, has no power of enforcement, has no power to order public funding of anything, has no power to cancel laws, and has no power to create constitutional rights.
It does, however, have what Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist 78: the power of judgment, a judgment that the executive is bound to consider but not obliged to enforce. For those who think otherwise, they would do well to cite the constitutional passage that says, “The Governor (or President) is obliged to accept and enforce all rulings by the courts.”
It just ain’t there.
The governor, and the Legislature, would do well to begin the homework that Ron Paul inspired for millions in the past decade and catch up to the constitutional and natural law truths that have been buried for too long yet lie in plain sight.
I close with an offer to publicly debate the issue of proper judicial power on constitutional grounds with any who disagree, with neutral moderators at a site mutually convenient.
Bob Bird was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008; he is a 43-year Alaska resident, a retired public school teacher and currently a radio talk-show host on KSRM in Kenai.