Update: On November 4th, Alaska voters chose to retain Justice Eastaugh. Only 37.23 percent voted to reject him.
In a previous post, I urged fellow Alaskans to reject Alaska Supreme Court Justice Robert Eastaugh (pictured at left) for retention during the upcoming November 4th election. My primary objection was his vote to overturn Alaska's parental consent law in State v. Planned Parenthood of Alaska. This enabled the Alaska Supreme Court to officially invalidate the parental consent law by a 3-2 vote.
However, it appears that the Alaska Republican Party was ahead of me on this issue. They passed a resolution earlier asking Alaskans to reject Eastaugh - and not just for parental consent. They cite a whole laundry list of objections to his stewardship.
The resolution appears to have been passed at the state's Republican convention earlier this year. However, I cannot verify this, because the primary reference is a Microsoft Word document (I do not have Word installed). However, a Google cache picked up an HTML version of the resolution, which is reproduced in full below:
#13 Justice Robert Eastaugh Retention Election
Whereas Justice Robert Eastaugh was appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court in 1994; and
Whereas Justice Eastaugh must, as a Supreme Court Justice, stand for retention every ten years, which includes 2008; and
Whereas Justice Eastaugh voted with the majority in Valley Hospital Association v. Mat-Su Coalition for Choice [in 1997], ordering a hospital, against its wishes, to facilitate abortions, a position far beyond what any other state has done; and
Whereas Justice Eastaugh voted with the majority in Department of Health and Social Services v. Planned Parenthood [in 2001], ordering the State of Alaska to pay for abortions through Medicaid, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has specifically ruled that a state may decline to pay for abortions through Medicaid; and
Whereas Justice Eastaugh not only voted with the majority, but even wrote the court’s opinion, in ACLU v. State, declaring that state and local governments in Alaska must provide the same employment benefits to same sex couples that they provide to married couples [more about this issue in this previous post], thus effectively neutralizing the overwhelming vote of the people of Alaska rejecting gay marriage; and
Whereas Justice Eastaugh was the deciding vote in State v. Planned Parenthood of Alaska, a 3-2 decision overturning a statute to require younger teenagers who want an abortion to obtain either parental consent, or the permission of a judge; despite the statute having been carefully tailored to meet the requirements set by the U.S. Supreme Court; and
Whereas rulings such as these and others threaten our system of democracy by elevating a tiny elite group of judges into super-legislators who can overturn anything passed by the legislative branch at their fancy; and
Whereas the decennial retention elections are the only opportunity the public has to influence the judicial selection process and assure that judges will not arrogate power to themselves that has not been legally given; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska Republican Party encourages voters to vote against Justice Robert Eastaugh in his bid for retention as an Alaska Supreme Court Justice.
The Alaska Judicial Council has endorsed Justice Eastaugh for retention, but their criteria is restricted to judicial competency and character. Their charter does not require them to apply ideological tests, and it should remain that way. They provide a 24-page package of evaluation materials on Justice Eastaugh HERE. Information on other Alaskan judges up for retention can be found HERE, down towards the bottom of the post.
Commentary: While Justice Eastaugh shows a satisfactory level of technical competency and ethical character, this is by far outweighed by his obvious disconnect from those traditional American cultural values which catapulted this nation to unprecedented power and prosperity. Justice Eastaugh has established a persistent pattern of decision-making which weakens the sanctity of unborn life and erodes parental prerogative.
It is not sufficient merely to wage political warfare against organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU which engage in anti-family advocacy. We must go after the judges who decide in their favor, and hold them accountable. And the best way to hold Justice Eastaugh accountable is to vote NOT to retain him on November 4th.