Judges on the ballot as well as politicians

Posted: Monday, November 01, 2010

There are no 10-foot-tall billboards along Egan Drive proclaiming the greatness of Judge Philip M. Pallenberg.

Your neighbors won't have lawn ornaments with his likeness supporting a proposition or a ballot measure, and chances are you will not hear a radio spot from the "Three M's" (McAdams, Miller and Murkowski) saying they approve a message despairing or cheering the Juneau Superior Court appointee.

But Pallenberg and 27 other judges from around the state are on Tuesday's ballot. Pallenberg is the lone Juneau justice up for retention or rejection, joined in the First Judicial District by other superior court nominees David George of Sitka and Ketchikan's Trevor Stephens. Ketchikan District Judge Kevin Miller is also on the First District retention ballot.

Additionally, all Alaska voters will have Alaska Supreme Court Judge Dana Fabe and Alaska Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer to consider for retention.

The Alaska Judicial Council, an independent seven-member citizen's commission established in the Constitution at statehood, evaluates applicants for judicial positions and nominates the best qualified to the governor for appointment. Three non-attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, and three attorneys appointed by the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors make up the Council, with the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court Walter L. Carpeneti sitting as chair ex officio. Alaska law requires the Council to evaluate each judge eligible to stand for retention, and to publicize its findings, so that the public can make informed choices when voting on judges.

According to the state's official election pamphlet, the Judicial Council favored 27 of the 28 to retain their judgeships, recommending that voters not retain Anchorage District Court Judge Richard Postma Jr. The findings of the Judicial Council on all the judges can be seen at their website www.ajc.state.ak.us.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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