By Tony Hopfinger
Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — The Alaska Supreme Court will consider an appeal by Republican lawmakers and the state attorney general to block a legislative investigation into Governor Sarah Palin‘s firing of the state police chief.
The court agreed late yesterday to review a decision by state Superior Judge Peter Michalski, who on Thursday dismissed a request by five Republican state lawmakers to halt the investigation. Also involved in the suit is Attorney General Talis Colberg, who was denied a request to block subpoenas of Palin aides to testify in the probe.
Lawyers representing the lawmakers and Colberg argued in state court that the probe has become tainted by politics. The case took on national importance after Republican presidential nominee John McCain picked Palin as his running mate.
The Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments Oct. 8 and rule by the end of Oct. 9, one day before the legislative investigation is due to be completed.
On July 31, the Alaska Legislative Council, a bipartisan committee that conducts business when the legislature isn’t in session, began the probe into Palin’s July 11 firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The police chief said he was dismissed for refusing to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, who was involved in a divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister.
Palin and her supporters say the legislative probe is politically biased. She is cooperating with a separate investigation conducted by the state Personnel Board.
The Legislative Council, headed by Democrats, has called for the probe to be completed by Oct. 10, less than a month before the presidential election. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and other lawmakers have sought to have the completion date pushed back until after the Nov. 4 election.