State Pays Back Alaska Court System After Dunleavy’s Unconstitutional Veto

The $334,700 Governor Dunleavy vetoed in retaliation for an Alaska Supreme Court decision has been restored.

Affiliate: ACLU of Alaska
January 11, 2021 12:30 pm

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Dunleavy Administration has complied with a court order directing it to restore $334,700 to the Alaska Court System. Governor Michael Dunleavy had earlier unconstitutionally vetoed that amount in retaliation for an Alaska Supreme Court ruling at odds with his personal views on abortion.

Last month, the Alaska Superior Court issued its final judgment in American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, Bonnie L. Jack, and John D. Kaufmann vs. Michael J. Dunleavy. Judge Jennifer Henderson ordered the state to return the $334,700 by Jan. 4, after an October decision, which ruled Governor Dunleavy violated the separation of powers doctrine in the Alaska Constitution.

In 2019, the Governor used his ability to line-item veto to punish the Alaska Court System for an Alaska Supreme Court decision that protected women’s right to choose whether they want to be a parent. He slashed $334,700 from the courts’ FY20 budget and, in a fiscal note, explained

his cut was in retaliation for the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling in State vs. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.

He doubled down and vetoed the same amount from the courts’ FY 21 budget. In July 2020, the ACLU of Alaska amended its lawsuit to fight the unprecedented attack on the U.S. and Alaska Constitutions.

“Holding a powerful position does not, under any circumstance, allow you to break the law, and disregard the principles of this state and nation without consequence. We the people will not tolerate such threats or such unconstitutional acts. The court ruled to protect the Constitution’s fundamental system of checks and balances that protects our American democracy, and this is a victory for all of us,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua Decker.

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