With the assistance of Lawyers Defending American Democracy, Alaska lawyers have the opportunity to sign the following letter calling on Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan to fulfill their congressional duty to serve as a check on presidential actions that upend our Constitution and the rule of law. For the sake of our democracy, please add your name to the letter and share it with your colleagues.  

Alaska attorneys might also wish to sign the separate letter from Lawyers Defending American Democracy calling on President Trump to abide by the standards and values of our democracy.  As lawyers, we have an obligation to take a stand for the rule of law and for our system of government.

Charles E. Cole, Former Attorney General, State of Alaska
Walter L. Carpeneti, Chief Justice, Supreme Court (Ret.)

The Open Letter:

Dear Senators Murkowski and Sullivan:

We are Alaska lawyers writing to enlist your support in defending the constitutional values and norms of political behavior on which our democracy depends. These core values and principles – the rule of law, institutional checks and balances, separation of powers, freedom of the press, truthfulness to the public, and the integrity of our justice system – are under attack.

In our system of government, laws are only as good as those willing to uphold them. When a president disregards core values and principles, it is the duty of Congress to serve as a check – otherwise the rule of law becomes meaningless.

President Donald Trump is actively challenging the rule of law and undermining constitutional values and principles. Among other things, he is subverting the independence and integrity of the federal criminal justice and intelligence agencies; he is blocking proper congressional oversight of his administration at every level; he has indicated his willingness to take assistance from foreign governments for the next election; he is failing to fulfill his constitutional duty by appointing “acting” administrators to positions subject to consent by the Senate; he has improperly invoked emergency powers over the border wall to circumvent Congress’ appropriation power; and almost every day more evidence emerges of the President’s violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

In direct contradiction of America’s first amendment principles, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the mainstream news media as the “enemy of the American people,” sowing the seeds of violence against journalists. And he undercuts the integrity of the courts with the blanket condemnation that our justice system is “broken and unfair” and by pillorying judges and decisions that he dislikes.

A new, nonpartisan organization called Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD) has recently published an Open Letter to the President and Congress addressing these issues, As it notes, in part:

The President’s attacks on these core American democratic principles undermine the foundations of our Constitution and threaten the rule of law. Unless challenged and checked, this pattern of disregard weakens the norms that underpin America’s self-government and invites unfettered executive power – transforming the United States from a democracy to an autocracy. As members of the legal profession, pledged to support the rule of law and the constitutional separation of powers, we must not allow this to happen.

The values and principles threatened here [transcend] politics, policy differences and any politician’s self-interest. They’re the bedrock of our American, constitutional, democratic form of government.

We are specifically asking you to issue a statement supporting Lawyers Defending American Democracy’s Open Letter ( and cause it to be published in the Congressional Record. We also believe that the Letter could be a worthwhile point of reference for a Judiciary Committee hearing on the challenges currently facing the rule of law in our country. We would hope for bi-partisan support in both chambers. As noted in Lawyers Defending American Democracy’s Open Letter, prominent conservative lawyers have recently spoken out on many of these same issues through a new organization, “Checks and Balances.” We ask you to do the same.

More broadly, we are asking you to join us and take a stand for America’s core values and principles. We ask that you publicly call on the Senate leadership and your Congressional colleagues to take all actions available to preserve and protect America’s democracy.

Thank you.

Signers (NOTE: Please be aware that there will be a time lag between completing the form and your name appearing as a signatory. Thank you for your understanding.)

Meredith Ahearn – Anchorage Alaska; Lawyers Defending America
Jessie Archibald – Juneau, Alaska; ALSC
Danielle Baileu – Anchorage, AK; Attorney, State of Alaska
Nick Bajwa – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Elizabeth M. Bakalar – Juneau, Alaska; Ms. Elizabeth Bakalar, Former Senior Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska, Department of Law, Current Solo Practitioner
James K. Barnett – Anchorage, AK; Attorney and Alaska Historian
Peter Bartlett – Anchorage, AK; Law Office of Peter Bartlett, former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant District Attorney (State of Alaska), former Assistant Municipal Attorney (Municipality of Anchorage), Inactive Member, Washington Bar Association
Chris Bataille – Anchorage, Alaska; Flanigan & Bataille
Lynn S. Bechtol – Anchorage, AK; Attorney at Law
Ilona Bessenyey – Anchorage, AK; Owner and attorney, Bessenyey & Van Tuyn, LLC
Kathryn Black – Anchorage, AK; Of Counsel, Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot
Kristen Bomengen – Juneau, Alaska; State of Alaska, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission
Bruce Bookman – Anchorage Alaska; Bookman & Helm LLP Retired
Bruce Botelho – Douglas, AK; Attorney General (1994-2002). Mayor, City and Borough of Juneau (1988-91, 2003-2012)
Laura C. Bottger – Bainbridge Island; Former Assistant Attorney General, Alaska
Paul H. Bratton – FritzCreek; Law Office of Paul H. Bratton
James T. Brennan – City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska; (Formerly) Brennan and Heideman
Monte Brice – Juneau, AK; Alaska Bar Association member
Valerie Van Brocklin – Anchorage, AK; Former ADA and AUSA
Daniel Bruce – Juneau,Alaska 99801; Baxter Bruce & Sullivan PC
David H. Bundy – Anchorage, AK; David H Bundy, P.C., attorney
Grant Callow – Anchorage, AK; Alaska lawyer; Alaska Delegate and Life Member – Uniform Law Commission of the United States
Annie Carpeneti – Juneau, Alaska; Attorney General’s Office – retired
Walter (Bud) Carpeneti – Juneau, Alaska; Chief Justice, Alaska Supreme Court (Ret.)
Marianna Carpeneti – Juneau, Ak; State of Alaska, Office of Public Advocacy
Alison Carter – Fairbanks, AK; Attorney
Shelley K. Chaffin – Anchorage, AK; Law Office of Shelley K. Chaffin
Mark C. Choate – Juneau; Choate Law Firm LLC
Evan Chyun – Anchorage, Alaska; Former Assistant Public Advocate, State of Alaska
David D. Clark – Anchorage, AK; Owner, Law Office of David Clark
Victoria Clark – Anchorage, AK; Trustees for Alaska Executive Director
Joan Clover – Anchorage, AK; Law Office/Mediation Services of Joan Clover
Charles William Cohen – Juneau, AK; BLISS RIORDAN, Partner
John Connors – Fairbanks; Law Office of John J. Connors, P.C.
Teresa B. Cramer – Juneau, AK; Retired attorney
Anna C. Crary – Anchorage; Attorney, private practice
Barbara Craver – Juneau, Alaska; Retired
Glenn Cravez – Anchorage, Alaska; Law Office of Glenn E. Cravez, Inc.
Eric Croft – Anchorage, Alaska; Croft Law Office
Peter J. Crosby – Anchorage, Alaska; Formerly Peter J. Crosby, PC 
Beverly Winslow Cutler – Palmer, Alaska; Retired Superior Court Judge
D. Scott Dattan – Anchorage, AK; Lawyer
Ann DeArmond – Wasilla; Ms.
Lisa M. DeCora – Anchorage, AK; Big Fire Law & Policy Group LLP – Attorney
Eric Derleth – Soldotna, Alaska; Eric Derleth – Trial Lawyer, Inc
Steve Devries – Anchorage Alaska; Attorney
Cynthia Drinkwater – Anchorage, AK; Attorney General’s Office – Retired
Louise Driscoll – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Heidi Drygas – Juneau, Alaska; Attorney, Private Practice
Roger W. DuBrock – Anchorage, AK; Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson, Of counsel
Kim Dunn – Anchorage, AK; Partner, Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP
Monica Elkinton – Anchorage, Alaska; Assistant Municipal Attorney, Municipality of Anchorage
William English – Anchorage, AK; Attorney at Law
Susan Falk – Anchorage, AK; Alaska State Law Librarian
Walter T. Featherly – Anchorage, AK; Holland & Knight, Anchorage office executive partner
Sarah J. Felix – Portland, OR; Assistant Attorney General, State of Alaska, Department of Law
J. John Franich – Fairbanks, Alaska; Alaska Bar Association
Michael J. Frank – Anchorage, Alaska; Former member Alaska and Michigan Bar Associations
John Gaguine – Juneau, AK; Former Assistant Attorney General
Gayle Garrigues – Fairbanks, Alaska; Retired, former Assistant District Attorney, & former Assistant Attorney General, State of Alaska
Joseph W. Geldhof – Juneau; Law Office of Joseph W. Geldhof
Elizabeth Ann Gifford – Juneau, Alaska; Retired from Faulkner Banfield, P.C.
Donna J. Goldsmith – Anchorage, Alaska; Attorney – Former Special Assistant Attorney General and private practitioner – Retired
James Gorski – Port Townsend, WA; Private practice
Paul H. Grant – Juneau, AK; Former member of theBoard of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union
Deborah Greenberg – Anchorage, AK; Assistant District Attorney, Alaska/Assistant Attorney General, Alaska
Jack Griffin – Anchorage, AK; Senior Counsel, Conocophillips Alaska, Inc.; former Assistant Attorney General
Clifford J. Groh, II – Anchorage, Alaska; Former Assistant District Attorney, State of Alaska
Chris D. Gronning – Anchorage, AK; Bankston Gronning Brecht, PC
Peter Gruenstein – Anchorage AK; Attorney
Adam Gulkis – Anchorage, AK; Solo practitioner
Carmen Gutierrez – Anchorage, Alaska; Retired
Andrew Haas – Homer, AK; Haas and Spigelmyer, partner
Emma Haddix – Anchorage, AK; State of Alaska, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Amanda Harber – Soldotna; Attorney
Stephanie Harrod – Anchorage, AK; Associate Attorney, Josephson Law Offices
Leone Hatch – Fairbanks Alaska; Attorney
John Havelock – Anchorage, AK; Greunstein, Hickey, Havelock and Duffy
John Hedland – Anchorage, AK; Retired., formerly Hedland, Brennan and Heideman
Edward H. Hein – Juneau, Alaska; United States Administrative Law Judge (retired)
Leslie Hiebert – Anchorage; Private Practice
Lindsay Hobson – Anchorage, Alaska; Attorney
Deborah A. Holbrook – Juneau; Law Office of Deborah A. Holbrook
Lee Holen – Anchorage, AK; Lee Holen Law Office
Katy Howard – Eagle River, Alaska; Retired Administrative Law Judge
Dena Ivey – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
James R. Jackson – Crozet, VA; GCI
Ryan W. Jager – Anchorage, Alaska; Solo Practitioner
Matthew Jamin – Kodiak, AK; Jamin Law Office
Andy Josephson – Anchorage, AK; Alaska State Legislature
Joseph Kashi – Soldotna, AK; Present
Guy M. Kerner – Anchorage, AK; Alaska Bar Member
Beth Kerttula – Juneau, Alaska; Former Minority Leader, Alaska State House of Representatives
Tina Kobayashi – Juneau, Alaska; Former Assistant Attorney General, State of Alaska
Eric Kocher – Haines, AK; Attorney at Law
Tom Koester – Juneau, Alaska; Retired
Alex Koponen – Fairbanks, Alaska; Alex Koponen, Attorney at Law
Eric Kueffner – Juneau, Alaska; Retired from Faulkner Banfield, P.C.
H. Van Z. Lawrence – Fairbanks, Alaska; Alaska Bar Association-Attorney,Commisioner of the Alaska Public Offices Commission
Averil Lerman – Alaska; Formerly with the Federal Public Defender; Retired
Michael LeVine – Juneau, AK; Attorney
Robert M. Libbey – Anchorage, AK; Alaska Bar Association-56 years
Erin M. Lillie – Nome, Alaska; LT Nome Law, PC: Partner
Robert Buck Lindekugel – Juneau, Alaska; Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Grassroots Attorney
Jahna Lindemuth – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Thomas Lohman – Anchorage, AK; North Slope Borough Environmental Resource Specialist
Erin Dougherty Lynch – Anchorage, AK; Native American Rights Fund, Senior Staff Attorney
Krista Maciolek – Palmer, Alaska; Palmer, Ak; attorney
Annalee McConnell – Juneau AK; Former Director, State of Alaska Office of Management and Budget
Kevin F. McCoy – Anchorage, Alaska 99501; Office of the Federal Defender for the District of Alaska
Mary Alice McKeen – Juneau; Administrative Judge, Office of Administrative Appeals, National Marine Fisheries Service (ret.)
Douglas Mertz – Juneau, Alaska; Mertz Law Office
Julia Metzger – Anchorage, AK; Assistant Public Defender
John M. Miller – Anchorage, AK; Law Office of Jon M. Miller, LLC
Kristina Miller – Fairbanks, Alaska; Alaska Bar Association, Practicing Attorney
Wallace W. Mills – Halibut Cove, AK; Retired
Vivian Munson – Eagle River, AK; Law Office of Vivian Munson
John Murtagh – anchorage ak; solo private practice since 1982
Michelle Nesbett – Anchorage, Alaska; Nesbett Law Offices and former Assistant District Attorney, State of Alaska
Brad De Noble – Eagle River; De Noble Law Offices LLC
Deborah O. Regan – Anchorage; Alaska Bar Association
Susan Orlansky – Anchorage, AK; Of counsel to Reeves Amodio, LLC
Douglas S. Parker – Anchorage, AK; Shareholder, Littler Mendelson
Andy L Pevehouse – Kenai, AK; Gilman & Pevehouse
Janet Platt – Anchorage, AK; Law Offices of Janet D Platt
Jack Garyth Poulson – Juneau, AK; Sanders Poulson Woolford, LLC
Dawn Reed-Slaten – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Jerald Reichlin – Anchorage, AK; Owner-Law Office of Jerald M. Reichlin, P.C.
Blake Rider – Juneau, Alaska; Alaska Bar Member
Justin Roberts – Anchorage, AK; General Counsel, IBEW Local 1547
Kenneth G. Robertson – Anchorage, AK; Robertson Law Office, Inc.
William G. Royce – Anchorage, AK; Law Office of William G Royce
Renea Saade – Anchorage, AK; Littler Mendelson – Shareholder
Vance A. Sanders – Juneau, Alaska; Sanders Poulson Woolford, LLC; Former President, Alaska Legal Services Corp.
Megan Sandone – Anchorage, Alaska; Jermain Dunnagan & Owens
David J. Schmid – Anchorage, AK; Alaska Bar Association—Active Member
Phil Shanahan – Anchorage, AK; Private practice; former Assistant Public Advocate for State of Alaska
Cameron Sharick – Anchorage, AK; Lawyer
Helen Sharratt – Eagle River, Alaska; Legal Services & Guardian Ad Litem
Caitlin Shortell – Anchorage, AK; Owner and Attorney, Shortell Law LLC; former Assistant Attorney General State Department of Law
Sharon Sigmon – Kodiak, AK; Retired
Moira K. Smith – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Robert Sparks – Fairbanks, AK; Robert A. Sparks Law Office
Marc Andrew Spooner – Anchorage, AK; Walker & Eakes
Michael A. D. Stanley – Juneau, Alaska
Michael Stark – Juneau AK; Former Assistant Attorney General and Vice Chair Alaska Board of Parole
Michael Stehle – Anchorage, AK; Law Office of Michael Stehle, PC
Janna Stewart – Anchorage Alaska; Former Alaska Court System, retired/inactive
Margaret Stock – Anchorage, AK; Owner & Attorney, Cascadia Cross Border Law Group, LLC
Kathleen Strasbaugh – Juneau, AK; solo practitioner and former Alaska assistant attorney general
Cynthia Strout – Anchorage, Alaska; Former President of the Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Kathryn Swiderski – Anchorage, AK; Attorney; Former Administrative Law Judge and Ass’t Attorney General
Kneeland Taylor – Anchorage, AK; Alaska Bar Association member
R. Scott Taylor – Anchorage, Alaska; Former Senior Asstistant Attorney General; Private Practice
Camillé Oechsli Taylor – Anchorage, AK; Retired
Meghan Topkok – Nome, Alaska; Attorney
Nancy Wainwright – Anchorage, Alaska; Wainwright Legal Services, LLC.
Dan Wayne – Juneau Alaska; Member of Alaska Bar Association 28 years
W. David Weed – Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Bar Association; The State Bar of California (inactive)
Lisa Weissler – Juneau, Alaska; Assistant Attorney General, State of Alaska, Retired
Tara Wheatland – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Steve White – Juneau, Alaska; Assistant Attorney General, former
Denise Wike – Anchorage AK; Anchorage Youth Court Legal Advisor
Jill Wittenbrader – Anchorage, AK; Attorney
Patricia Wong – Anchorage, AK; Attorney, Law Office of Brian Heady
Emily Wright – Juneau, Ak; Alaska Bar Member
Larry Zervos – Fairbanks, Alaska; Mediator and Arbitrator