As we reported earlier this month, the 17 seat Anchorage Superior Court had become almost entirely male, with 16 men and only 1 woman. That disparity provided good reason to believe Governor Bill Walker would lean towards appointing one of the two female nominees put forward by the Alaska Judicial Council for the seat being vacated by the retiring Judge Michael Spaan.
It appears that is exactly what happened, as the Governor announced this morning he had appointed Dani Crosby to the seat.
First Lady Big Fan Of Crosby
In an interview Tuesday night, Anchorage’s First Lady and Arctic Law Chair for the Alaska Bar Association Mara Kimmel expressed glowing support for Crosby’s appointment. “She is the picture of judicial temperament, exactly what you want,” Kimmel said. “I can see her on the Supreme Court.”
The Next Judicial Appointment
Kimmel’s Supreme Court comment is timely given that the Crobsy appointment leads straight into the next judicial appointment discussion.
Alaska Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe has announced her retirement effective June 16, 2016. She is the only woman on the state’s highest court and leads the court’s Fairness, Diversity, and Equality Committee. Governor Walker will undoubtedly hear arguments from a number of quarters, including presumably Fabe herself, that the state’s highest court should have at least one female voice.
The Alaska Judicial Council currently shows eight applicants for the opening, three of which are women. It will be interesting to see how many of the Judicial Council’s nominees are women, and if at least one is, if the Governor figures gender equity on the court into his appointment decision.
Here is the Governor’s statement on the appointment:
Governor Walker Appoints Anchorage Superior Court Judge
November 24, 2015 JUNEAU — Governor Bill Walker today announced his appointment of Dani Crosby to the Anchorage Superior Court. Ms. Crosby will replace Judge Michael Spaan, who is retiring at the end of November after serving on the Anchorage Superior Court since 2007.
“It is an honor to appoint Dani Crosby as the next Anchorage Superior Court judge,” said Governor Walker. “Dani has been described by her colleagues as hardworking, well-reasoned, and able to evaluate a legal problem from many different perspectives. These are traits I consider critical for a judge to be successful at his or her job, and I believe they will serve Dani well in this new role.”
Raised in Sitka, Alaska, Ms. Crosby has practiced law for nearly 20 years, focusing on employment issues, complex business disputes, and family law matters. For the past two years, she has worked as a private practice attorney for Dani Crosby Law Office, Inc. Prior to that, Ms. Crosby was an attorney at Ashburn & Mason, P.C. for 14 years, where she was a leader in the firm’s litigation practice, and worked on complex matters for the State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, and other private clients. In addition to her work as an attorney, Ms. Crosby is the President of the Alaska Bar Foundation, a member of the Civil Rules Committee, and a regular volunteer with Alaska Legal Services Corporation. She received a bachelor degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies from Occidental College, and a juris doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law.
“After reading the recommendations submitted by her peers, it is clear that Dani has the sound judgement and strong character to make difficult but fair decisions on a daily basis,” said Governor Walker. “Dani is well respected by many in the legal community, and has an outstanding career ahead of her on Anchorage’s Superior Court bench.”
Nominated by the Alaska Judicial Council and appointed by the Governor, Ms. Crosby will now be one of 42 Superior Court judges in Alaska.