Rules are made and followed in order to ensure fair play.
The state Legislature currently is addressing the nomination of a public (non-attorney) member to the Alaska Judicial Council.
This potential member lives in the Third Judicial District. Alaska has four judicial districts — Southeast is the first, Southcentral is the third, and Northern and Western, which are the second and fourth districts.
Four of the seven council members live in Anchorage, Wasilla, and, if the current nominee is confirmed by the Legislature, Soldotna.
Soldotna, Wasilla and Anchorage all are located in the Third Judicial District.
Three other members are attorneys who reside in Anchorage, Sitka and Fairbanks. The seventh member — the Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice — chairs the council and votes only in case of a tie between the other members.
The council is responsible for the hiring process of Alaska's judges and forwarding names of the most qualified applicants to the governor for appointment by the state's chief elected official.
The Alaska Constitution states that Judicial Council appointments "shall be made with due regard to area representation."
If the Soldotna nominee to the council is confirmed by the Legislature, this would be the first time in Alaska's history that all three public members would be from the same district, leaving Southeast, the Interior, Northern and Western regions without a public representative. All public reps would be from the Third Judicial District.
These are the public's seats, and, the public in Alaska consists of more than the Third Judicial District. Alaskans outside of that district appreciate that the Legislature has been conscious of including — up to this point — Alaskans from throughout the districts.
Ketchikan has provided members to the Judicial Council in the past. It would be pleased to again, as would cities, towns and villages in other regions outside of the Third Judicial District. Both the First City and the region, as well as the Northern and Western regions, have capable and willing candidates with long Alaska history and current citizenship in their respective districts.
Confirming a third of three members from the Third Judicial District leaves the other districts without representation on the council.
In truth and in the rule and spirit of the Constitution, the Third Judicial District should have one public member. It already has two members with the potential of a third. To confirm the third is a complete dismissal and disregard for the constitution and Alaskans living in the first, second and fourth judicial districts.
The state Legislature, which itself also represents Alaskans, might consider what its bodies would be like if its only members came from the Third Judicial District.
That wouldn't be considered fair, and neither should the confirmation of another Third Judicial District public nomination to the Alaska Judicial Council.