JUNO, Alaska: The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that steps to recall Governor Mike Dunleavy can proceed.
Specifically, the high court said that arguments that he neglected his duties as governor and lacked fitness and competence to serve in office satisfied legal requirements to be presented to voters.
The Supreme Court hearing was scheduled after the Alaska Division of Elections rejected the application for the recall, which accused the governor of using his budget veto to pressure judges who ruled in favor of abortion rights and using government funds for partisan political purposes.
In their ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court said that the petition indicated the recall committee's motivations were "legally sufficient and are particular enough to give the targeted official fair notice of the claim."
The court added that it was not the high court's job to "judge the seriousness of an alleged ground" but that it had the responsibility to allow the people to determine if "the allegations are serious enough to warrant a recall election."
"Each voter in the voting booth must decide whether the allegations are serious enough to warrant removal from office," the ruling stated.
Dunleavy had been a teacher and school administrator prior to being elected in 2018. He has 17 months left on his term.
He issued a statement on Friday condemning the court's decision.
"The Alaska Supreme Court today issued an opinion that creates a standard-less recall process, subjecting elected officials at every level and across the political spectrum to baseless, expensive, and distracting recall elections by their political opponents," he said. "The court has made it clear that even plainly false allegations of wrongdoing can trigger this process, undermining our election process, and prevents our elected officials from focusing on many serious issues facing Alaskans."