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.
Roland M. v. Faith K. (Unpublished)
Date: September 27, 2023
Shields v. Clark
Date: August 18, 2023
Justia Opinion Summary: A man and woman and the man’s grandmother decided to buy a home that they would share. They also decided that because the woman qualified for a mortgage with better terms than the others, the mortgage would be in her…
Highlight Canyon, LLC v. Cioffoletti, et al.
Date: August 11, 2023
Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the trial court dismissed a mining company’s claims when its sole filing in the prior year was a substitution of counsel. The Alaska Supreme Court held that the substitution of counsel was not a…
Stockton v. Stockton
Date: July 14, 2023
Justia Opinion Summary: Wife Connie Stockton challenged a superior court’s order denying relief from judgment under Alaska Civil Rule 60(b). She sought to overturn a default judgment entered against her in 2013, that divided marital property…
T.A. (Mother) v. State of Alaska, DFCS, OCS (Unpublished)
Date: July 5, 2023
350 P.3d 766, 407 P.3d 485, 420 P.3d 1234, 483 P.3d 179
Doan v. Banner Health, Inc., et al.
Date: June 30, 2023
Justia Opinion Summary: A young woman died of heart failure while hospitalized. Her mother, acting on her own behalf and as personal representative of the woman’s estate, sued the hospital, several doctors, and the doctors’ employers for…