Panel advances proposed Judicial Council change

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by Your Alaska Link News Team

The Senate Finance Committee has advanced a proposed constitutional amendment that would require all appointees to the Alaska Judicial Council to be confirmed by the Legislature.

Sen. Pete Kelly had asked that SJR21, which he sponsored, be sent back to the committee from Senate Rules to make that change. The proposal would raise from three to six the number of public members on the council who are appointed by the governor. It would leave the number of attorney members at three.

Kelly and other supporters argue the change would bring greater balance to the council and provide for greater regional diversity. Opponents, including the Alaska court system, fear it could inject politics into the process of nominating judges.

A similar proposal is pending in the House.

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