Sitka Superior Court Judge Jude Pate has been appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
Governor Mike Dunleavy announced Pate’s appointment on Friday afternoon (1-20-23). Pate was selected from a list of four attorneys and judges nominated by the Alaska Judicial Council in December.
Pate was Sitka’s public defender for over a decade from 2006 to 2017. Before that, he worked as in-house counsel for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and as a private practice attorney. He moved to Sitka in 1993 after earning his law degree at Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law.
Five years ago, Pate was appointed to serve as the Sitka Superior Court judge by then- Governor Bill Walker. In an interview with KCAW in 2018, shortly before he was sworn in, he explained how he saw the transition from lawyer to judge:
“Baseball player: Playing the game, playing for one side, trying to win. Umpire: not trying to win, just trying to make sure there’s a fair game. It’s going to be a change for a baseball player to become an umpire, but it’s a different job,” Pate said. “Maybe you’ll miss the thrill of the chase, but I’m looking forward to a different role and experiencing a different side of the law.”
Pate was in court on Friday and could not be reached immediately for comment. He will fill the vacancy created by Chief Justice Dan Winfrey’s retirement.