The fact that Alaska has been able to build a judiciary widely heralded as the best among the fifty states perhaps stems from its chaotic youth. With no territorial judiciary it had nothing to undo, and there was no necessity for compromise. It could build its judiciary without reconciling practices of an already existing judiciary. The first step toward this Alaskan objective was taken at the constitutional convention which convened in the late fall of 1955 to draft a state constitution. This was almost three years before Statehood was achieved. Article IV of this constitution set up the guidelines for the legislative action that later gave Alaska its model judiciary. It was characteristic of the delegates that they strove mightily, and for the most part successfully, to keep statutory law entirely out of the constitution. Wisely, they determined that their function was to establish the framework within which future legislatures could pass the laws which were needed by the state. The judiciary article is an excellent example of this policy.
Mildred R. Hermann,
Building a State Judiciary,
39 Neb. L. Rev. 265
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol39/iss2/3