Hatchet Job On Dana Fabe

The Anchorage Teabaggers have launched a last minute hatchet job on Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe. They even brag it’s too late for her to do anything about it: “There is not much time left before the election so Fabe will not be able to campaign against this group or a grassroots effort.” Election by ambush. So much for fairness.

And because they don’t think there is time for Justice Fabe to respond, they don’t care if their accusations are true or not. So they lie about her. Repeatedly. Outrageously. WC has long since given up on expecting honesty from the Teabag movement. But this is sinking to a new low.

WC has watched a lot of Alaska Supreme Court justices come and go over more than three decades of practicing law. Justice Fabe is honest, fair, balanced and scrupulous about following the Alaska Constitution. The Teabaggers’ real beef is with the Alaska Constitution, but they lack the intelligence and moral courage to admit it. Instead of taking the Constitution on, they attack the messenger.

It’s painful and tedious to untangle this web of deceit, but let’s look at some of the Teabag accusations:

Teabagger Claim: Justice Fabe wrote the opinion striking down Alaska’s law that required parental consent before a minor’s abortion.

Reality: This one is complicated. In 2001, the parental consent issue came before the supreme court for the first time in Planned Parenthood on appeal from Superior Judge Tan’s decision that the statute was unconstitutional. Justice Fabe didn’t write the decision, but she voted with the 3-2 majority to send the case back to the superior court for additional factual findings. The case came back to the Alaska Supreme Court in 2007, and this time Justice Fabe wrote the majority opinion for a 3-2 court. But look at what she said:

And contrary to the arguments of Planned Parenthood, we determine that the constitution permits a statutory scheme which ensures that parents are notified so that they can be engaged in their daughters’   important decisions in these matters. But we ultimately conclude that the Act does not strike the proper constitutional balance between the State’s compelling interests and a minors’ fundamental right to privacy. [Emphasis added.]

Writing for the majority, she found that it was constitutional to require parental consent, but that the Alaska Legislature had botched the task.

Bottom Line: The Teabagger position is deceitful and misleading.

Teabagger Claim: Justice Fabe wrote the infamous Valley Hospital decision which ordered the Mat-Su’s Valley Hospital, a non-profit cooperative, to perform abortions – even though the hospital’s Board had voted to not offer this service.


Reality: Chief Justice Compton wrote the 1997 decision. Justice Fabe didn’t participate in the supreme court appeal. Judge Fabe, while still a superior court judge, wrote the trial court decision. Which Chief Justice Compton and the unanimous Supreme Court affirmed. It wasn’t even close.

Bottom Line: The teabaggers have misled readers.

Teabagger Claim: Justice Fabe wrote the opinion for the Alaska Supreme Court that invented a constitutional right for a taxpayer-funded abortion.


Reality: Hello? Taxpayers paying for something? In Alaska? Alaskans don’t pay State taxes. We live off oil companies. We clip permanent fund dividends. But setting aside the false premise that Alaska voters are actually paying the State for anything, if you look at what Justice Fabe actually said, as opposed to what the Teabaggers claim,

Alaska’s Medicaid program funds virtually all necessary medical services for poor Alaskans — “regardless of race, age, national origin, or economic standing” — but it denies funding for medically necessary abortions. Alone among Medicaid-eligible Alaskans, women whose health is endangered by pregnancy are denied health care based solely on political disapproval of the medically necessary procedure. This selective denial of medical benefits violates Alaska’s constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

The Perdue decision is really about medically necessary abortions. The Teabaggers also make it sound like the Alaska Supreme Court staked out an extreme position. Not so:

Our conclusion is supported by the majority of jurisdictions that have considered comparable restrictions on state funding of medically necessary abortions: these state courts have concluded that, under their state constitutions, government health care programs that fund other medically necessary procedures may not deny assistance to eligible women whose health depends on obtaining abortions.

Bottom Line: The Teabaggers have lied and deceived twice on this one. Alaska simply followed the majority rule.

WC appreciates that his readers can only tolerate so much legal analysis before their eyes glaze over. So WC hopes that his readers will trust him when he says that the other so-called extreme positions are equally deceitful, untruthful and deceptive. If there are comments asking for it, WC will walk through the Teabaggers the other bogus claims as well.


But visit Justice Fabe’s web site. And then tell your friends not to fall for this sleazy attack. Justice Fabe is a fine supreme court justice. She works hard, and has made wonderful contributions to the legal system and to those who are trapped in the legal system. The Alaska Judicial Council recommended she be retained. WC will go further: Justice Fabe is as good as any state supreme court justice in our country. She’s far better than we deserve. Let’s not lose her to a mess of lies and shoddy tactics.

So vote to retain her. Tell your friends not to fall for this low-life trick. Even your pro-life friends need to understand that it is a mistake to pick a jurist on a single issue, however passionate you are about the issue. Especially when you may be wrong about the jurist’s position on that single issue.

Vote to retain Justice Fabe.

The opinions in this post are solely those of WC. This post has not been approved by the candidate. No expenses were incurred in creating this post. No electrons were harmed in creating this post.


3 thoughts on “Hatchet Job On Dana Fabe

  1. Thanks for putting this out. The voting on judges is a sketchy thing. Even with the state pamphlet there is just no way to really know who you are voting for lest you have been in the court or before the judge. I bet i am one of the few who actually read the pamphlet.

  2. Each judge is his/her own silo of power, but still vulnerable to frequently ugly political campaigns. Many years ago, I worked for a now-deservedly defunct newspaper covering cops, courts and rescue. For one election, I was handed a packet from the publisher, now deceased, of material on a Superior Court judge. On the surface the material, which seemed to be from political interests, were on his rulings, but in truth the goal of the material was to call his choice of companions into question and basically out him. I was young, but not so foolish as to use it. I read it, gleaned the names of the “accusers,” and put the report in the bottom of the bottom drawer of my old metal desk, and threw it out by cutting it into little pieces when I left the paper — now called shredding. Calls to the “sources” in the packet were unfruitful; Some of them wanted to know where I had gotten their names. No story ever saw the light of day. Fortunately for Alaska, the Superior Court Judge became a Supreme Court Justices.

    • Good story. The Tennessee Plan – Alaska’s manner of judge selection and retention – has its flaws but they aren’t a fraction of the ones created by electing judges in the first place.

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