Everyone who is surprised go stand on your head in the corner.

Gov. Sean Parnell has made his first appointment to the Alaska Supreme Court, an Anchorage Superior Court judge who is considered a conservative among the field Parnell could pick from.

Parnell announced his choice of Judge Craig Stowers on Wednesday, citing his "character, legal experience, his strong work ethic, his intellect, and his record of service to Alaska's people."

Stowers was appointed to the Anchorage Superior Court by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004. He was previously a civil attorney and founding partner in the law firm Clapp, Peterson and Stowers, which specialized in defending professionals such as doctors and lawyers. He was among seven candidates nominated by the nonpartisan Alaska Judicial Council for Parnell to choose from, out of a record 25 who applied to fill the seat of the retired Justice Robert Eastaugh.

Stowers is president of the board of Anchorage-based Christian Health Associates, a non-profit involved in medical care for low-income people and "pastoral and clinical counseling."

"I care deeply about people, families, Alaska and law. I have an abiding love of theology and strive to follow Micah 6:8," Stowers wrote in his application to the judicial council.

That Bible verse says "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Stowers, 55, also wrote to the council that growing up in Yorktown, Va., "imbued me with a deep respect for American history and the principles upon which our country was founded."

I have to seriously wonder, does that include separation of church and state? Are you familiar with the judicial ethics of keeping your politics and religion off the bench?

Was this specially aimed at Sarah Palin who would have made this selection for the supreme court if she was not such a quitter? No matter, Sarah Parnell was there to make the selection.

Parnell's choice has the approval of the Alaska Family Council, a Christian group that lobbied hard against then-Gov. Sarah Palin's choice of a former Planned Parenthood board member to the Alaska Supreme Court earlier this year.

Notice they are not lobbying against Judge Sower and the fact that he is endorsed by the Alaska Family Council which is an affiliate of James's Dobson's organization Focus on the Family pretty much tells us all we need to know. This organization is against what they call "judicial activism". They are attempting to put controls in place in the form of more religious right judges to keep our legal system from moving forward instead of backwards like they prefer. They along with some of their partnering mega corporations have affected how legislature is written which is not what the majority of the people in this country support. They have a fear of supreme court judges finding certain issues unconstitutional, like banning abortions or legislating away L/B/G/T civil rights. They claim judges are writing new law instead of following what our founders intended. This makes me want to have a large emesis because they have rewritten the history of our country themselves in claiming the United States was founded on Christianity when the it was actually founded on separation of church and state.

"We're very pleased with that, (Stowers) was what we were hoping for," said Jim Minnery, president of the Alaska Family Council. "He seems to have been someone that's followed the more constructionist viewpoint of interpreting the Constitution and we'd like to think his track record shows he's not going to legislate from the bench."

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Les Gara said he asked a few attorneys about Stowers after Parnell picked him on Wednesday afternoon. "Folks say he's likely moderate, thoughtful and, as a judge, would likely rely on precedent as he's required to -- not make up new rules," Gara said in an e-mail.

Gara said it's not clear what views Stowers holds on abortion and other hot-button issues. Clover Simon, head of the Alaska branch of Planned Parenthood, said she's not familiar with him.

Minnery of the anti-abortion Alaska Family Council said he doesn't know what views Stowers holds on the issue but "my guess is that he is not going to create rights that aren't laid out in the Constitution as some of the other justices have."

A survey of Alaska attorneys for the 2008 judicial retention election resulted in Stowers receiving an overall 4.4 out of a possible 5. His rating among peace and probation officers was a 4.1.

Jurors gave him a 5.0, court employees a 4.2 and a survey of social workers, guardians ad litem and child advocates resulted in a 3.9.

The surveys specified a 3 as acceptable, 4 as good and 5 excellent.

There are lower scores in the areas of people who work with those who are affected by his decisions on a human social level. That is telling. Jurors always give high scores because they don't work with judges and don't have a clue about their performance or integrity. Judge Sowers has very little experience in the area of criminal law. He will now sit on the supreme court in a state that puts a lot of innocent people in prison and sends many low level offenders for long sentences. The prisons in Alaska are not places where there is rehabilitation, they are places where many abuses take place and there certainly is not appropriate mental health care available. One huge problem in Alaska is the lack of care for the mentally ill, many of them end up in the prison system. We need judges who understand mental illness, what the mentally ill need to function and survive, how to protect the public from violent mentally ill offenders, thereby protecting a defendant who through no fault of their own is mentally ill and could commit a horrible offense. Imagine how it would feel to have a hallucination which causes you to hurt someone because you erroneously thought they were trying to kill you. There is significant research that those who are violent can live outside prisons on medication, they just have to be court ordered to take it and in a program which makes sure that happens. We also need judges who understand what those who are chemically dependent need. Jail makes mental illness worse, many come out damaged and angry from being abused while incarcerated. This creates more problems socially.

Jun. 3--An Anchorage judge who has applied for a seat on the state Supreme Court this week took himself off two public records cases pending against Gov. Sarah Palin. Both cases were brought by Anchorage activist Andree McLeod.

Superior Court Judge Craig Stowers wrote in a court order filed Tuesday that he thought he could be fair to both sides but stepped down because he realized his decisions could be questioned given his application to the Supreme Court.

Yes, let's not let the people of Alaska know what they are getting just before the decision.

"Both cases involve substantial issues of law and policy," Stowers wrote. "The parties and the public are entitled to have these important issues resolved in a context where there can be no question, not even a shadow of doubt, that the Court is acting in a neutral and fair manner."

Linked to Christian Health Associates as a leg of their organization is Faith Based and Community Relations. Here is it's mission statement:

In January 2001 President George W. Bush issued and(sic) executive order that established the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives has been established to make Federal programs more friendly to faith-based and community solutions and to make federal funding more accessible.

"There is no way that government can create love. Love comes from a higher calling. Love is inspirational. But what government can do is fund and welcome programs whose sole intent is to change lives in a positive way." President Bush at a Meeting with Catholic Charities made these remarks.

Embedded in the history and organizational mission and culture of Christian Health Associates is a collaborative, integrated approach to nurturing lives and providing resources aimed at changing lives. The Office of Faith Based and Community Relationships is the CHA organizational component that supports the way we fulfill our mission and is an expression of our values.

This has assisted organizations like Shepherd's Purse and Love in the Name of Christ to get entwined with the governmental social services in this country.

I have read through their websites for the Cornerstone Clinic, Christian Health Associates, and information about their missions. I find it very alarming that a judge appointed to the supreme court in Alaska is the president of the board for this organization. Considering the agendas of some of the members it is clear Judge Sowers would have to share their beliefs to be on the board of CHA.

Is Alaska well on it's way to becoming a theocracy? The governor and staff were appointed by Sarah Palin who is a known dominionist and she placed key people in government agencies and I believe one of the reasons she resigned when she did was this was one of her main goals as governor to facilitate theocratic control. So that is one branch of government which is already a theocracy. They will continue working on appointing more right wing judges to the court system. Fortunately in Alaska we have some great legislators in place who believe in democracy and the real principles this country was founded on, but there are some who share this right wing Christian agenda and those who are corrupt. The mayor in Anchorage is waging war against anyone and anything on the left. Gay rights, unions, working class people, and legislators who are democrats. Let's not let this appointment pass unnoticed for what it really is.



Anonymous said...

Is there no check and balance in place regarding a governor's ability to appoint a state Supreme Court Justice?

Were there no hearings required? Doesn't your legislature get a say in the matter?

If it only up to the Governor, perhaps it is time to change your State Constitution or statures - whatever controls this process.

This is truly scary.

Do you have any recall process should he go off the rails?

Celia Harrison said...

Anonymous, Alaska uses what is called the Missouri plan to select judges. The problem with Alaska is it has just one judicial counsel which has influence over all the judges selected for vacancies. Alaska’s judges are selected through a process that allows the trial attorneys in the state to have huge influence on judges. They do polls of attorneys, juries, and court employees. They also ask for public opinion. They interview them and review information about them and select seven which are sent on to the governor for selection of one. There have been many attempts to give the people in Alaska more of a say in this process or have the legislators vote on the final nomination, so far all attempts have failed. This is one reason the people in Alaska are not served by the government here. Landlords do as they please, business owners get away with all kinds of illegal activity, and the common people are left without recourse. On the Kenai Peninsula the law libraries are so pitiful they aren’t even worth using. Pro Bono help is very limited so that many have to try and act as their own attorneys. This is done to increase business for attorneys and prevents low income people from prevailing in court. It is possible to get rid of one, but attorneys often protect their own even if they are wrong here. Judges can be suspended, removed from office, retired, or censured by the supreme court upon the recommendation of the commission on judicial conduct, may be impeached by two thirds of the senate and convicted by two thirds of the house of representatives

Anonymous said...

Judge Stowers may be an overall good judge, but in my case, he was not. He didn't know but I am a Christian. I went through a horriable custody battle and in the end Judge Stowers decided to grant my son's father, a convicted felon for assulting me, whom has very little income and not living on his own: PRIMARY CUSTODY. For military reasons, I am being stationed out of state and Judge Stowers decided in our Child's best interest to grant a low-income felon custody of our son because he FELT that it was right on the reason our son has been with his Alaska family for 4 years (he is only 4 years old)rather than to be with his his mother whom has been taking care of him the majority of the time. In our trial my son's father lied about many things, on of them: him being a christian. I believe Judge Stowers bought that, and ruled in his favor because of that. I am a christian myself yet I did not exploit it in the court room. In my case, justice was not served and it's now at the Supreme Court.