Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced his picks for the state’s top public safety jobs today, including the appointment of Anchorage anti-abortion attorney Kevin Clarkson, who’s argued a long list of high-profile, right-wing lawsuits in Alaska, to the post of Alaska’s Attorney General.
Clarkson has a lengthy record of arguing in favor of anti-abortion laws, including the state’s unconstitutional parental consent law and the state’s unconstitutional parental notification law. Both were struck down under Alaska’s strong privacy amendment that he called “Roe v. Wade on steroids.”
In an interview with Alaska Public Media earlier this year, Clarkson acknowledged the state’s constitution would serve as a considerable backstop to any efforts to overturn the landmark 1973 case in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“Well, the answer basically is nothing,” he told Alaska Public Media when asked what would happen in Alaska if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
However, it just so happens that the Dunleavy transition team includes constitutional reform adviser Dick Randolph, who’s pushed for a constitutional convention to reopen the Alaska Constitution to changes (though admittedly, the process for this would be lengthy and require multiple public votes).
While not busy seeking to limit the reproductive rights of women in Alaska, Clarkson has also made headlines as the attorney for a faith-based homeless shelter that’s sought to bar trans women from utilizing its services among many other cases.
In the course of representing the Downtown Hope Center against the Municipality of Anchorage’s anti-discrimination ordinance, Clarkson himself was served with a discrimination complaint.
Other high-profile lawsuits Clarkson has been involved with include the lawsuit against the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s invocation policy that effectively barred multiple religions–including Jewish and Muslim people–from giving invocations, which a Superior Court judge said “stemmed from intolerance” when he struck it down, and fought to shut down the “Troopergate” investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin.
Clarkson didn’t have much of note in his public comments at the event, saying that the “talented team of lawyers” at the Department of Law, which was heavily targeted by Dunleavy’s loyalty-or-you’re-fired letters, “deserve our support and respect.”
When asked by mainstream reporters (bloggers were barred from asking questions) afterward if he would continue the lawsuit launched under former Gov. Bill Walker against opioid manufacturers would be continued, he said he was unsure.
“This is day one on the job. We intend to review those cases and protect Alaska’s interests to the best we can,” he said. “I can’t really give you a specific answer, but I’ll tell you that that’s something we’re going to be looking at hard.”