Does Alaska's system of selecting judges violate the U.S. Constitution? A handful of conservative activists argues that it does. They've filed suit asking a federal judge to throw out part of the Alaska Constitution. The suit attacks the state constitutional provision giving the Alaska Bar Association a role in recommending judicial nominees to Alaska's governor, who makes the final decision.
The lawsuit asks the federal courts to engage in the kind of judicial activism that conservatives routinely oppose.
Alaska's Constitution has contained the challenged provision since day one, when the territory became a state. The plaintiffs seek to overturn the considered judgment of Alaska's constitutional founders and the huge majority of Alaskans who approved the constitution in a statewide vote.
Those pushing the lawsuit apparently would rather avoid trying to change the state constitution through the regular process. A constitutional amendment would have to pass by a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature, before Alaskans would vote it up or down in a statewide vote.
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