Alaska Supreme Court rules recall against Governor may proceed – Read the full text pdf of the opinion and the statute.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy will stand for a recall election the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled. In order to recall an elected official in Alaska it is necessary one allege at least one of these four types of allegations: (1) lack of fitness, (2) incompetence, (3) neglect of duties, or (4) corruption. Alaska Statutes Sec. 15.45.510. The recall petition was denied for the reason that “although the application met ‘the technical requirements of the recall statutes,’ it was ‘not substantially in the required form’ as required by AS 15.45.550(1) because ‘the statement of grounds for recall [was] not factually and
legally sufficient for purposes of certification.’” The improper form allegation goes to these four grounds listed above. Here are the allegations in the petition:
Neglect of Duties, Incompetence, and/or Lack of Fitness, for
the following actions:
Governor Dunleavy violated Alaska law by refusing to
appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within 45 days
of receiving nominations.
Governor Dunleavy violated Alaska law and the Constitution,
and misused state funds by unlawfully and without proper
disclosure, authorizing and allowing the use of state funds for
partisan purposes to purchase electronic advertisements and
direct mailers making partisan statements about political
opponents and supporters.
Governor Dunleavy violated separation-of-powers by
improperly using the line-item veto to: (a) attack the
judiciary and the rule of law; and (b) preclude the legislature
from upholding its constitutional Health, Education and
Governor Dunleavy acted incompetently when he mistakenly
vetoed approximately $18 million more than he told the
legislature in official communications he intended to strike.
Uncorrected, the error would cause the state to lose over $40
million in additional federal Medicaid funds.
References: AS 22.10.100; Art. IX, sec. 6 of Alaska
Constitution; AS 39.52; AS 15.13, including .050, .090, .135,
and .145; Legislative Council (31-LS1006); ch.1-2,
FSSLA19; OMB Change Record Detail (Appellate Courts,
University, AHFC, Medicaid Services).
It was the use of the line item veto for a portion of the funds for the judicial branch that was at issue of whether it was sufficient. One justice dissented on two grounds. In the end even if a couple of grounds would have been ruled insufficient, which they were not, then as long as the petition had one ground it would have stood up to scrutiny.
An interesting parallel to the veto of judicial branch funding is the Texas Supreme Court case about Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s use of the veto power to veto legislative funding for September 1, 2021 and onward leaving the legislature without money to pay staff.
Read the full text pdf documents here:
Sec. 15.45.500. Form of application.
The application must include
(1) the name and office of the person to be recalled;
(2) the grounds for recall described in particular in not more than 200 words;
(3) the printed name, the signature, the address, and a numerical identifier of qualified voters equal in number to 10 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the state or in the senate or house district of the official sought to be recalled, 100 of whom will serve as sponsors; each signature page must include a statement that the qualified voters signed the application with the name and office of the person to be recalled and the statement of grounds for recall attached; and
(4) the designation of a recall committee consisting of three of the qualified voters who subscribed to the application and shall represent all sponsors and subscribers in matters relating to the recall; the designation must include the name, mailing address, and signature of each committee member.