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State of Alaska

History of Reform Efforts: Alaska

Formal Changes Since Inception

1959
In its original constitution, Alaska established a merit plan for selecting supreme court and superior court judges. Supreme court judges were selected for ten-year terms; superior court judges were selected for six-year terms.

1968
Legislature created the district court. Judges chosen through merit selection for four-year terms.

1975
Legislature passed a bill proposed by the judicial council requiring the council to conduct performance evaluations of all sitting judges prior to their retention elections and to make the information available to the public. The council may, but is not required to, make recommendations as to whether judges should be retained in office.

1980
Legislature created the court of appeals. Judges chosen through merit selection for eight-year terms.