A variety of states have judicial performance evaluation boards and commissions that, in some instances, come out with recommendations of whether a particular judge should or should not be re-elected or retained in office. Alaska’s current law gives that role to the state Judicial Council, but legislation introduced last week would remove the recommendation function.
SB 76 contains two elements.
The first amends the state law that prohibits state and local government from using state funds “to influence the outcome of the election of a candidate to a state or municipal office”; SB 76 extends that to read “municipal office or to make a recommendation relating to a judge or justice seeking retention”.
The remaining sections remove provisions related to the Judicial Council’s recommendations, either outright eliminating them, putting in a specific prohibition that “The judicial council may not make a recommendation relating to the retention or rejection of a judge or justice”, or specifying that in lieu of a recommendation the Judicial Council may give “impartial and objective information” only.
SB 76 has been filed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.