Rehearing Denied Feb. 19, 2010.
Kenneth P. Jacobus, Kenneth P. Jacobus, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellant.
Sarah J. Felix, Assistant Attorney General, and Talis J. Colberg, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee.
Before: FABE, Chief Justice, EASTAUGH, and WINFREE, Justices.
FABE, Chief Justice.
In 2003 Scott Kohlhaas proposed a ballot initiative calling for a statewide vote on whether Alaska should secede from the United States. The lieutenant governor refused to certify Kohlhaas's initiative, and the superior court concluded that his refusal was proper. Affirming the judgment of the superior court, we held that the lieutenant governor had correctly declined to certify Kohlhaas's initiative because secession is a clearly unconstitutional end.
In 2007 Kohlhaas drafted a second initiative on this topic, this time calling for a statewide vote on whether the State should seek changes in existing law and constitutional provisions that would authorize Alaska's secession from the United States. The lieutenant governor again declined to certify the initiative for circulation, and the superior court again concluded that the lieutenant governor's denial of certification was proper, granting the State's motion for summary judgment. Kohlhaas appeals.
Kohlhaas's revised initiative seeks either secession itself or a change in existing constitutional law to allow secession. Because secession is clearly unconstitutional, and because the people of Alaska may not effect constitutional change through the initiative process, Kohlhaas's revised initiative is an improper subject for the initiative process. The lieutenant governor correctly denied certification of the initiative. We thus affirm the superior court's judgment.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
A. Initiative 03INDP and Kohlhaas I
In April 2003 Scott Kohlhaas submitted an initiative to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, accompanied by at least one hundred qualifying signatures as required by Alaska law. The initiative, known as 03INDP, read as follows:
AN INITIATIVE REQUIRING THE STATE OF ALASKA TO VOTE ON OBTAINING ALASKAN INDEPENDENCE, IF LEGALLY POSSIBLE, OR TO SEEK CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS TO AUTHORIZE, AND THEN OBTAIN, INDEPENDENCE.
Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska:
(1) At the next regular general election, the following question shall be presented to the voters of the State of Alaska for approval or rejection:
" Shall the State of Alaska obtain independence from the United States of America, and become an independent nation, if such independence is legally possible, and if such independence is not legally possible under present law, shall the State of Alaska seek changes in existing law and Constitutional provisions to authorize such independence, and then obtain independence?"
(2) If this question is not answered affirmatively, then this question shall be placed before the voters of Alaska every ten years in the future.
(3) The provisions of this Act are independent and severable, and if any provision of this Act, or the applicability of any provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this Act
shall not be affected and shall be given effect to the fullest ...