Judicial Selection

In Alaska, Judges are selected based on their professional qualifications, not political campaigns. Here’s how potential judges are evaluated:

  1. Written Application. Applicants submit a 28 page written application and list of references to the Alaska Judicial Council (AJC), a nonpartisan group consisting of three members of the public, three members of the Alaska Bar Association, and the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.
  2. Professional Surveys. The AJC sends detailed questionnaires to all active members of the Alaska Bar, which includes judges, asking them to rate the applicant based on the following criteria:
    1. Professional competence
    2. Integrity
    3. Judicial temperament
    4. Fairness
    5. Experience
    6. Overall professional qualifications
  3. References and Background Check. The AJC contacts Present and Past employers, calls the applicant’s general character references, and sends detailed questionnaires to each of the attorneys and judges who have been involved in cases with the applicant, asking about the applicant’s suitability for nomination as a judge.
  4. Public Comments. Public testimony is collected via writing, website submission, and public hearings.
  5. Interview. The applicant is interviewed to interrogate the findings of surveys and public comments.
  6. Nomination. The AJC nominates a select number of the most highly qualified applicants for consideration by the Governor.
  7. Selection by the Governor. The Governor appoints a judge chosen from the top applicants.
  8. Public Retention Vote. After serving a few years as a judge, the public votes on whether the judge can keep serving Alaska.

For more information on Public Retention Vote, check out this 2-minute video:

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