Judicial Council Member Position Description

Appointment and Term

Attorney Members

Appointed by the board of governors of the Alaska Bar Association following an advisory election by bar members from the appropriate judicial district or districts. Council members may be re-appointed once. Council members serve six year terms. A Council member may be appointed to the remaining term of a member who did not complete a full six year term.

Public Members

Appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the legislature, for a six year term.

Composition of Council

Council membership consists of three attorney members; three public members; and the chief justice who is chairperson, ex officio, of the Council.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Council meets about four times a year. Council meetings range from one to five days depending on the number of judicial vacancies pending and vacancy locations. Council meetings are generally held in the location of the judgeship being filled by the Council. The Council usually conducts two or three teleconferences a year. In recent years, due to the high number of judicial vacancies, the Council has met more frequently and for longer periods of time than it did previously.

Judicial Selection

Members review applications, surveys, references and investigatory materials for judicial vacancies on the supreme court, the court of appeals, the superior and district courts of Alaska. Members interview applicants and vote to nominate two or more candidates to the governor to fill judicial vacancies.

Public Defender Selection

When a vacancy occurs in the office of state public defender, members screen applicants using procedures similar to those for judicial selection and nominate the most qualified applicants (two or more) to the governor for appointment.

Judicial Evaluation: Members evaluate incumbent justices and judges standing for retention, and recommend a yes or no vote on retention.

Reports

The Council conducts studies for the improvement of the administration of justice and makes reports and recommendations to the supreme court and legislature.

Compensation

Presently, Council members receive no form of compensation other than travel and meal expenses for out-of town travel to Council meetings within the limits established by state law.

Council Member Qualifications

Attorney and public member qualifications

  • May not hold any other office or position for profit under the United States or the State. Alaska Const. art. IV, Sec. 8.
  • May not serve on both Council and Commission on Judicial Conduct simultaneously. AS 22.30.010.
  • Must comply with public official financial disclosure requirements of AS 39.50.020, including initial filing within 30 days after taking office.
  • Must be and have been a registered voter prior to the last general election. AS 39.05.100(a)(1).
  • Must maintain Alaska residency throughout the term. AS 39.05.100(b).

Additional Attorney qualification

Must be on active status as Bar Association member within the judicial district for which vacancy is to be filled.