Monday, May 22, 2017

Dr. Fortson comments on two bills introduced in the Alaska House of Representatives

Alaska State Legislature
An Alaska House bill to criminalize abortion would be unconstitutional under both the Alaska and U.S. constitutions, Dr. Ryan Forston told the Alaska Dispatch News recently. House Bill 250 , introduced by Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla), would revoke the right of women to obtain abortions under Alaska's constitutional right to privacy. "The intent of the bill seems to be to legislatively outlaw abortion," Dr. Fortson said. "And that is not only a violation of the Alaska Constitution — it would also be against the U.S. Constitution, at least as it's currently interpreted.... The courts won't allow the Legislature to define how a constitutional provision is being interpreted — that's the job of the courts."

House Bill 251, also introduced by Rep. Eastman, would authorize the Alaska Legislature to impeach judges for "exercising legislative power" without judicial review. The Legislature has the power under the Alaska Constitution to impeach judges, according to Dr. Fortson, but "where the limits of that power are is unclear," he said. "If this were passed and the Legislature were to try to exercise it, it's hard to say exactly how it would play out."

According to the article, neither measure is likely to pass.

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