Supreme Court nominees include Juneau chief assistant attorney general

Ketchikan superior court judge also nominated

The Alaska Judicial Council met in Anchorage from Saturday until Monday to interview applicants for a seat opening up on the Alaska Supreme Court.


Following its meeting, the council announced the names of its four nominees Tuesday for the position being vacated by retiring Justice Walter L. Carpeneti, former chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Among the nominees are two from Southeast Alaska, including the chief assistant attorney general for Juneau, Susan Cox. She has been with the Alaska Department of Law in Juneau since 1984.

“I am extremely honored to be nominated by the Judicial Council for a position on the Alaska Supreme Court, particularly to fill Justice Carpeneti’s seat,” Cox said in an email Wednesday evening. “I first came to Alaska to be a law clerk for then-Superior Court Judge Carpeneti 30 years ago — he’s been a great jurist and his service to the state is inspirational. It is a rare privilege for me to be one of the candidates under consideration for appointment to fill the vacancy that will result from his retirement.”

Judge Trevor Stephens, who sits on the superior court in Ketchikan, was also nominated, as were Alaska Court of Appeals Judge Joel Bolger and Assistant Atty. Gen. Andy Harrington, who is based in Fairbanks.

Applications for the position were due July 30. Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg was among the applicants who were not selected for nomination.

One applicant, Peter J. Maassen, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Sean Parnell in early August.

Parnell now has until Jan. 25 — 45 days after the nominees were announced and their materials were forwarded to the governor’s office, which Judicial Council member Larry Cohn said happened Tuesday — to make his appointment from among the four nominees.

Carpeneti’s retirement is effective Jan. 31, according to the Judicial Council’s website.

The Judicial Council is required to nominate the most qualified applicants applying for a judicial vacancy.

The council is a citizens’ commission created by the Alaska Constitution composed of three attorneys, three non-attorneys and the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.

The council completes an extensive investigation and evaluation of judicial applicants; reviews each applicant’s education, experience, bar discipline and credit records, participation in community activities, and other records; asks every member of the Alaska Bar Association to evaluate each applicant; encourages members of the public to submit questions; and interviews applicants as part of its process of making judicial nominations.


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