Press Release

Governor Congratulates Department of Law Attorneys

July 1, 2009

Anchorage, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin met today with Department of Law attorneys who played important roles in two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases that were resolved in favor of the State of Alaska.

In both cases, at the urging of Alaska's assistant attorneys general, the high court reversed decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"I want to thank the dedicated public servants in the Department of Law," Governor Palin said after the meeting. "They work tirelessly on behalf of the state and our citizens. I wanted to take the opportunity to express my appreciation in person for their defense of our rights as a state and to congratulate them on their recent Supreme Court victories."

In Anchorage District Attorney's Office v. Osborne, the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners do not have a constitutional right to post-conviction DNA testing, instead allowing states to set the standards for such tests. Assistant Attorney General Ken Rosenstein argued that case in front of the justices in March, with co-counsel Assistant Attorney General Diane Wendlandt.

In Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Kensington Mine to open near Juneau, approving of a tailings disposal methodology sought by developer Coeur Alaska. The State of Alaska intervened in that case and urged Supreme Court review, even though the federal government had declined to appeal an adverse ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Assistant Attorneys General Cam Leonard, Joanne Grace and Ruth Hamilton-Heese played important roles in representing Alaska's interests in this case.

"These are some of the country's finest lawyers," said Attorney General Dan Sullivan. "All of us here at the Department of Law are grateful for their commitment to public service and for the opportunity to have their hard work and recent successes recognized by the governor."

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