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Alaska attorney general defends veto of court system funding over abortion ruling

This photo from Jan. 30, 2019, shows Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, right, during a news conference with state Revenue Commissioner Bruce Tangeman, left, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy, center, in Juneau. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Alaska’s attorney general says Gov. Mike Dunleavy was within his constitutional rights to cut the court system budget for a decision he didn’t like.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson in a statement Thursday says a governor has line-item budget veto power over all appropriations, without exception.

Dunleavy's budget vetoes last month included a $334,700 cut to the court system, the amount spent on state-funded abortions.

The Alaska Supreme Court this year ruled that a state law defining what constitutes a medically necessary abortion was unconstitutional.

The ACLU of Alaska sued Wednesday, claiming Dunleavy’s budget reduction to the court system was a threat to judicial independence.

Clarkson says the lawsuit proposes that the judiciary control how the other two branches of government fund the courts.

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