After Alaska became a state in 1959, the Alaska Constitution created the Alaska Supreme Court. While its central location is in Anchorage, where it hears arguments monthly, the Alaska Supreme Court also hears arguments in Fairbanks, Juneau, and other locations less regularly. Generally, the justices will hear arguments in the location of the trial court in which the case was originally decided.
The Alaska Supreme Court must review any appeal of a civil case in an Alaska Superior Court or a decision made by an administrative agency. The Court may hear an appeal of a criminal case if the lower court certifies that it involves an issue of substantial public interest or a significant question of constitutional law. Other matters that the Alaska Supreme Court may review include non-final decisions by lower courts in civil and criminal cases, attorney disciplinary issues, and state law questions that arise in a case in a federal court.
The Alaska Supreme Court consists of five justices. When a position needs to be filled, the Alaska Judicial Council will compile a list of nominees, from which the Governor of Alaska must choose the new justice within 45 days. To be eligible for nomination, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Alaska for the last five years, licensed to practice in Alaska, and an actively practicing attorney for the last eight years. Once a justice has been selected, they will serve for at least three years, and then Alaska citizens will vote on whether the justice should be retained. After this initial election, each justice will go through another retention election every 10 years. A justice can be removed by being impeached by two-thirds of the Alaska Senate and convicted by two-thirds of the Alaska House of Representatives. They also can be removed, suspended, or censured at the discretion of the Supreme Court, based on a recommendation by the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Eriksson v. Eriksson Sibley et al.
Date: November 18, 2022
Justia Opinion Summary: A mother, son, and daughter conveyed real property among themselves by competing deeds. The daughter used the property as security for two bank loans and defaulted on the second one; when the bank attempted foreclosure,…
Knolmayer, et al. v. McCollum
Date: November 18, 2022
Justia Opinion Summary: This case presented the questions of whether and how Alaska Statute 09.55.548(b) applied when the claimant’s losses were compensated by an employer’s self-funded health benefit plan governed by the federal Employee…
Levi R. v. Mallory R. (Unpublished)
Date: November 2, 2022
McDonald v. Alaska Department of Corrections, et al.
Date: October 28, 2022
Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Department of Corrections’s Parole Board denied inmate Donald McDonald’s discretionary parole application; he subsequently sought injunctive relief against the Department, the Board, and the Department’s…
Kohlhaas, et al. v.Alaska, Division of Elections, et al.
Date: October 21, 2022
Justia Opinion Summary: In 2020 Alaska voters approved, by a slim margin, a ballot initiative that made sweeping changes to Alaska’s system of elections. The changes included replacing the system of political party primary elections with a…
Daum v. Daum
Date: October 14, 2022
Justia Opinion Summary: A couple separated after three years of marriage. They had a son who was later diagnosed with several mental disabilities. The father paid child support until the son turned 19; when the son was in his twenties the…