About Us

JUSTICE NOT POLITICS ALASKA is a nonpartisan group of Alaskans concerned about recent efforts to amend the Judiciary Article of Alaska’s Constitution in a manner that would increase the influence of politics in our state’s judicial selection and retention processes. In our view, the Judiciary Article (Article IV) is one of the jewels of our constitution and the principal reason that Alaska has had a long history of judicial excellence.  Under its provisions, the independent Alaska Judicial Council evaluates applicants for judgeships and nominates the most highly qualified applicants to the Governor, who makes the final appointment. Once appointed, judges periodically stand for retention during general elections, and the council evaluates their performance and makes recommendations to voters on whether they should be retained.

Our system of merit selection and voter retention has given Alaskans one of the most competent and accountable judiciaries in the world. It has ensured that our judges are chosen for their legal ability, integrity, fairness and judicial temperament, not their political views or affiliations. And it has helped guarantee that judicial decisions are made according to the rule of law, not popular or political pressures or influences that have no place in a justice system dedicated to fairness and impartiality.

We believe recent attempts to amend the Judiciary Article represent bad public policy and should be resisted by all informed citizens of Alaska. The system we have is not broken, has served us well, and should be preserved.

Who we are

We are a group of individuals from varied professions and backgrounds who have come together to support a fair judicial selection and retention system.

Walter (Bud) Carpeneti

Walter (Bud) Carpeneti

Board Co-Chair, Juneau

Alaska Chief Justice
2009-2013
Alaska Supreme Court Justice
1998-2013
Juneau Superior Court Judge
1982-1998

"I was a lawyer for forty years and a judge for over thirty. But I’ve been a basketball fan all my life. In court rooms as on the basketball court, Alaskans expect fair play. Judges who honor the duty to be fair and impartial should not face political attack for doing their jobs."

Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon

Board Co-Chair, Fairbanks

Former Non-Attorney Member, Alaska Judicial Council
2003-2009
Public Member, Alaska Bar Association
2012-Present

"For forty years I have participated as a non attorney in a variety of positions that affect our state‘s judicial selection process. I served a six year term as a non attorney member of the Judicial Council where I participated in the nomination of new judges and worked through the thorough judicial evaluation and retention recommendation process. Through my experience in all facets of selection, evaluation and retention, I am convinced Alaska’s judicial merit selection system is the best in the nation."

Barbara Hood

Barbara Hood

Secretary, Anchorage

Retired Attorney & Business owner

As a long time public servant, businesswoman, and engaged citizen, community means a lot to me. And to me community is everyone: those I agree with on issues of the day and those I don‘t; those who share my personal values and beliefs, and those who don’t. We are all important members of our communities, however we may differ. And when we have to go to court, for whatever reason, we stand as equals before the law. Efforts to increase the role of politics in judicial selection and retention threaten the impartiality of our courts and the promise of justice for all. That’s why I support JNPA.

David L. Landry

David L. Landry

Treasurer, Anchorage

Business owner, construction company

"Well managed, fair and impartial courts are important infrastructure for the business community. As a business owner, I support Alaska‘s current judicial selection system for it’s long track record of providing us with a competent, clean, non-political judiciary."

Lloyd Miller

Lloyd Miller

Director, Anchorage

Attorney
Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP

I’ve been a litigator for over 35 years and have had my share of both wins and losses in our remarkable state courts. Regardless of outcome, but especially in the losses, my clients and I have taken comfort that politics never played a role in the decision making process. Let’s keep it that way and protect Alaska’s constitutional system for appointing and retaining judges.

Don McClintock

Don McClintock

Director, Anchorage

Attorney,
Ashburn & Mason
President, Alaska Bar Association
2011-2012

"Since statehood, Alaska has had the benefit of a hardworking and capable judiciary free from partisan influence and committed to the rule of law. We should all resist any effort to politicize our courts."

Nicole Borromeo

Nicole Borromeo

Director, Anchorage

General Counsel,
Alaska Federation of Natives

We must guard against special interest groups and outside influences that seek to bend our merit-based judicial selection and retention process to their will. Political leaning and personal feelings have no place on the bench. Lady Justice must remain blindfolded if we are to achieve equal protection under law.

Bob Groseclose

Bob Groseclose

Director, Fairbanks

Managing Shareholder,
Cook Schuhmann & Groseclose
Attorney Member, Alaska Judicial Council
2000-2006

"As a life-long Alaskan practicing law for the past four decades, I am constantly reminded of the soundness of Alaska’s judicial merit selection and retention process. While no system is perfect, Alaska’s constitutional framers created the equivalent of a “gold standard” in how judges are selected. Recent proposals to dilute and tamper with that system are shortsighted and flawed. "

Tom Amodio

Tom Amodio

Director, Anchorage

Attorney, Reeves Amodio LLC

As a lawyer and owner of a small business, I’m proud to say that Alaska has one of the best judicial systems in the country. Our state judges are smart, able and principled, yet also courteous and understanding. Simply put, we have the best – let’s keep it that way.

Tena Williams

Tena Williams

Director, Ketchikan

Publisher,
Ketchikan Daily News
Former Non-Attorney Member, Alaska Judicial Council
2005-2011

There‘s no better judicial selection system than Alaska’s. It‘s highly unlikely any system other than a merit-based one would better serve Alaskans in elevating the most qualified attorneys to the judiciary. With an Alaska Judicial Council split evenly between attorney and non-attorney members from around the state, evaluating judicial applicants for future gubernatorial appointment on not only their legal abilities, but their character and integrity, Alaska consistently enjoys the highest caliber of Alaskans on the bench. Our judges ensure that the state’s court cases are handled for the well-being of all. While serving on the Judicial Council as a non-attorney member, I witnessed the success of Alaska’s merit-based judicial selection and retention system time and again.

Paul Dillon

Paul Dillon

Director, Juneau

Retired Attorney,
Commercial Fisherman

Our times require an independent, highly qualified judiciary to preserve and protect our democratic way of life. Alaska’s system of judicial selection and retention has provided the State with an exceptional group of judges, past and present. There is no reason to change one of the most successful judicial selection and retention systems in the nation.

Julia Seymour

Julia Seymour

Director, Anchorage

Pastor,
Lutheran Church of Hope

"Being a healthy community - of any size - means striking the right balance between relationships, communication and skills. Our present judicial selection and retention process, as outlined by the state constitution, is currently shaped to balance neatly and create a healthy judicial community. Tipping that balance through politicization risks the balance of our judicial organization, and, thereby, the health of our state."

Heather Arnett

Heather Arnett

Project Director, Anchorage

"The founders of Alaska‘s constitution created a judicial selection and retention system that includes a careful balance of professional peer and public input, as well as an exhaustive review of each judicial candidate’s individual qualifications. Our merit-based system has provided Alaskans with highly qualified, fair and impartial judges for 50+ years. Introducing an excessive amount of politics in to judicial selection allows for judges to be chosen based on political connections or specific ideologies. This will not serve Alaskans well and is why I am a part of Justice Not Politics Alaska."