To the editor: Please vote to retain Susan Carney on the Alaska Supreme Court.
As a career state attorney, both as an assistant DA and assistant AG, I met Susan soon after she moved to Fairbanks. We were opposing counsel on numerous criminal, delinquent and child protection cases. While there were times of vigorous disagreement, I found Sue well-prepared, thorough and a very able advocate.
A committee was formed urging nonretention of Justice Carney due to her support in the majority of three Alaska Supreme Court decisions. I reviewed the decisions and find them supported by precedent, the Constitution and law.
The first case is about the Alaska sex offender registration laws. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled on two issues. It first ruled out-of-state sex offenders moving to Alaska must comply with Alaska’s sex offender registration laws. The second ruling found persons required to register as sex offenders must be given the opportunity to show they have been rehabilitated. If the offender can show rehabilitation s/he will not be required to register. Support for the 49-page opinion was found in dozens of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts, many state supreme courts around the country, the Alaska Constitution, and years of Alaska case law. Page 41 of the decision observed that over one-half of the states have provisions providing sex offenders an opportunity to prove rehabilitation. While this ruling seems to favor sex offenders, it provides sex offenders incentive to be treated, a benefit to the community safety.
The second decision regards abortion funding. Both the United States and the Alaska Supreme Court have long history of abortion rulings. This decision is consistent with past rulings.
The third gripe is with a decision regarding the amount of permanent fund dividends. The Alaska Supreme Court upheld the governor’s constitutional authority to veto legislative appropriations, including those for PFDs.
While we may not agree with these decisions, they are supported by the Constitution, law and precedent. The complaints are not properly with Justice Carney, who was doing her job, but with the Constitution and law.
Alaska is well served by Justice Carney. Vote yes to retain her.