Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe has announced her retirement in June 2016.
Chief Justice Fabe has served on the Alaska Supreme Court since January 1996; she’s the third longest-serving supreme court justice in Alaska’s history, after the extraordinary Jay Rabinowitz and forgettable Skip Matthews. To give you a sense of the loss of experience to the court; she has more years of service than the other four justices combined.
She was the first woman justice on the court, the first woman chief justice and the first woman to be attacked by the unscrupulous cheats at the Alaska Family Council.
She has an honorary degree from the University of Alaska, she’s a member of the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame and, by the way, she has been a damn fine justice, authoring opinions that are reasoned, based on precedent and intellectually rigorous. While her pre-judicial career was as a public defender, she has demonstrated a sound grasp of all areas of law and, from WC’s perspective, she has been the state supreme court justice with the best understanding of commercial law.
She has been generous with her time, and has worked tirelessly to teach students and the public what law is all about.
In short, she has been everything Alaskans could possibly want from a state supreme court justice.
Justice Fabe has done all this in the face of vicious attacks from the religious right.
WC certainly has not agreed with all of her decisions. But, unlike the monomaniacs on the Christianist right, WC and the overwhelming majority of Alaska lawyers understand that a justice who works hard, follows the law and the constitution, and treats counsel and parties with respect is as perfect as we can expect.
WC offers his personal thanks to Dana Fabe for more than two decades of doing a nearly thankless job very well. And challenges the Alaska Judicial Council and Governor Walker to find a successor as qualified, diligent and generous.