By Dave Andrusko
When last NRL News Today reported on the issue, the ACLU had just sued Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy who had cut from the budget of the state Supreme Court the amount it cost the state of Alaska to fund abortions, a requirement (you guessed it) of the Alaska Supreme Court.
By using line-item veto, Dunleavy reduced the budget of the state’s courts by $334,700 – the precise amount of public money spent on paying for elective abortions annually.
The Office of Management and Budget explained, “The Legislative and Executive Branch are opposed to state-funded elective abortions; the only branch of government that insists on state-funded elective abortions is the Supreme Court. …The annual cost of elective abortions is reflected by this reduction.”
“The Federal Government also prohibits any federal funds paying for elective abortions,” the document also notes.
Whether the ACLU challenge is allowed to go ahead was debated in court Tuesday before Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson. The state has requested that the suit be dismissed.
Reporting for the Anchorage Daily News, Michelle Theriault Boots wrote that in oral arguments, the ACLU called the veto a “’stunning and blatant’ act of political retaliation that threatens the very separation of powers enshrined in the Alaska Constitution.”
In response, “The State of Alaska contends Dunleavy was within his powers as governor to make the veto, and said the decision hadn’t caused the harm to the judiciary’s independence that the ACLU alleges,” according to Boots.
Judge Henderson said she “needed time to consider the arguments [on the state’s request to dismiss the case] and would rule later, in writing,” Boots reported.
The executive director of the ACLU of Alaska told Boots Judge Henderson’s ruling will determine whether the case moves forward in Superior Court. “Both sides will have the right to appeal the outcome of the case — all the way, potentially, to the Alaska Supreme Court,” Boots explained.