JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy unconstitutionally used his veto powers to punish the courts following a state Supreme Court decision that invalidated proposed abortion restrictions, a judge ruled Friday.
Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson said Dunleavy’s vetoes of $334,700 from the appellate courts for each of the last two state budgets violates the separation of powers doctrine.
“The Governor, through exercise of his veto power, has exacted a monetary punishment of the judiciary for the very performance of its constitutional duties,” she wrote in her opinion. “There perhaps could be no more direct a threat against judicial independence.”
An email seeking comment was sent to the Department of Law.
Stephen Koteff, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, which brought the lawsuit, said Henderson’s ruling “protects every Alaskan because it protects the integrity of the state’s judiciary.”
“There should never be a time when the courts rule to appease a political party, or