Bill: Judicial Council shouldn’t make recommendations

Walter Carpeneti

Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti testified against the measure. (Photo by Rosemarie Alexander)

The Alaska Judicial Council would be barred from recommending whether judges should be retained under a bill proposed in the state House.

HB200, from Rep. Wes Keller, was heard and held by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The bill would also require the council provide “impartial and objective information” about justices or judges subject to approval or rejection during elections.

The council describes itself as an independent citizens’ commission created by the state Constitution. It screens applicants for judicial vacancies, making nominations to the governor, and recommends whether voters should retain judges.

Keller, in his sponsor statement, says the information provided by the council for inclusion in election pamphlets “often goes beyond impartial and objective.”

Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti testified in opposition to the measure.