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Press Release

Attorney General responds to ACLU lawsuit

July 18, 2019

(Anchorage, AK) – Attorney General Kevin Clarkson today issued the following statement after the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska filed a lawsuit against Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska over Governor Dunleavy’s recent veto that reduced funding to the court system:

“Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Executive is the separate and coequal branch of government that is expressly granted the line-item veto power under the Alaska Constitution. The governor’s express veto power includes all appropriation bills and there is no exception stated regarding appropriations to the Judiciary or court system.”

The ACLU asks the court to find that Governor Dunleavy’s recent cut of $334,700 to the court system – which represents the amount spent on state funded abortions last year -– is unconstitutional. The Alaska Supreme Court has upheld the use of state Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. Attorney General Clarkson says, “Ironically, by way of its complaint the ACLU proposes to imbalance the separation of powers established by the Alaska Constitution. The ACLU asks the Judiciary to aggrandize its power over the Executive branch by having the Judiciary place itself in the position of controlling how the other two separate and coequal branches of government fund the courts.”  He notes this is a situation made more complicated by the fact that the ACLU is asking the courts to take and rule on a claim that affects their own funding.

The lawsuit was filed on July 17, 2019, in Anchorage Superior Court.

CONTACT: Current Media Contact, Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov.

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Department Media Contact: Senior Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills at (907) 465-2132 or cori.mills@alaska.gov.