There They Go Again! Emergency Motion Filed With Supreme Court to Stop Troopergate Investigation. Updated*

3 10 2008

Boy the McCain-Palin campaign REALLY doesn’t want anyone to know the results of the Branchflower report. This report, due out next Friday contains the results of the ethics probe known as “Troopergate.” An emergency appeal was filed with the Alaska Supreme Court, after Judge Michalski ruled Thursday that the investigation should move forward,

They’re asking the state’s high court to decide by the close of business today whether it will hear their appeal.

The action comes the day after Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski threw out their lawsuit attempting to halt the Legislature’s investigation of what’s known as Troopergate. The suit was filed on behalf of a group of Republican state legislators who oppose the investigation.

Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute and Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson, representing the group of anti-investigation legislators, want the state Supreme Court to decide their appeal by Thursday.

That’s because Steve Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, is set to finish his report by next Friday. Branchflower is looking into Palin’s dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, and whether she improperly pressured him to fire a state trooper divorced from her sister.

“The plaintiffs and Alaskans will suffer irreparable harm if the investigation at issue continues and if the resulting investigative report issues as planned on Oct. 10, 2008,” the lawyers for the anti-investigation state legislators said in their emergency appeal.

The lawyers argued that allowing the investigation to proceed would threaten the right under the Alaska Constitution to a “fair and just” investigation by the Legislature. They also argued the Legislative Council overstepped its authority in investigating.

The state legislators whose names appear on the appeal are Wes Keller, Mike Kelly, Fred Dyson, Tom Wagoner, Carl Gatto and Bob Lynn.

Judge Michalski, in dismissing their lawsuit Thursday, ruled the conduct of the Legislature’s investigation did not violate the right to fairness.

He found much of the argument against the investigation is not for the courts to decide but is rather “business to be left to the legislative branch.”

The judge Thursday also threw out the argument of Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Palin appointee attempting to quash subpoenas ordering state officials to testify in the investigation.

The attorney general’s office has not joined the appeal to the state Supreme Court. Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Colberg would not be saying what his next move would be until he has a chance to discuss it with the subpoenaed state officials.

And who are these lawyers warning us of the “irreparable harm” that the state of Alaska will suffer?

Liberty Legal Institute is a far right-wing legal firm based in Texas.

The institute has taken on a variety of cases in defense of conservative Christian positions. Anchorage attorney Kevin G. Clarkson said he and the Texas group were donating their work on the suit. “We just want to take the politics out of it and bring fairness back into it.”

Clarkson said he and Liberty Legal Institute were donating their work on the suit. “There is no nonpartisan reason to complete this investigation until after the election,” he said. “We just want to take the politics out of it and bring fairness back into it.”

(eye roll)

This is all moving quickly. We’ll find out soon if the court has made a decision today.


Yes.  The Supreme Court of the State of Alaska will hear the emergency appeal.

In a written order issued about 4:30 p.m. today, the Supreme Court said it would hear oral arguments on the appeal at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and agreed to rule by the end of the next Thursday.

The urgency on timing is because Steve Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, is set to release his report next Friday.

OK, break out that big red Sharpie you save for circling important dates in Alaska politics on your calendar.  Wednesday at 3:00.  The game continues…