by Thomas Valentine
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy is making the state’s Supreme Court feel the pain of its own mandates.
Earlier this year, the Alaska Supreme Court declared unconstitutional two state law prohibiting tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions, except those deemed medically necessary. The court called the laws “under-inclusive” in a 4-1 decision and mandated the continued taxpayer funding of abortion in the state.
So when this year’s new budget reached Gov. Dunleavy’s desk, he used his line-item veto power to make the court feel the consequences. Approximately $335,000 in state taxpayer dollars was spent on elective abortions in 2018, so Dunleavy cut the Supreme Court’s budget by $335,000.
“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,” Dunleavy said in his explanation for the line-item veto.
The court responded by issuing a statement saying, “We assure all Alaskans that the Alaska Court System will continue to render independent court decisions based on the rule of law, without regard to the politics of the day.” But that didn’t stop them from also urging the state legislature to take a political vote to overturn a different line-item veto of cost-of-living adjustments for court employees.
Alaska’s courts have created one of the most permissive state abortion regimes in the country. Alaska has no limit on abortion after Roe v. Wade in 1973, and the state Supreme Court has blocked similar attempts to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in the state in the past.
Alaska Family Action applauded Dunleavy’s clever move, saying, “The Alaska Supreme Court has a long history of extremist rulings on abortion. But until today, they never suffered any real consequences for it. Now they will start feeling the pain of their own arrogance.”
Photo credit: Governor Dunleavy via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0