In the January 15 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled:
Kohlhaas’s revised initiative seeks either secession itself or a change in the Alaska Constitution to allow secession. We have held that secession from the Union is clearly unconstitutional. We have also held that the Alaska Constitution may not be amended by initiative. Therefore, the lieutenant governor correctly denied the initiative’s certification and it was not error for the superior court to dismiss Kohlhaas’s suit on summary judgment grounds. For these reasons, we AFFIRM the superior court’s judgment.
The Court relied heavily on Texas v. White, an 1868 U.S. Supreme Court decision that basically says that the United States is an "indivisible Union of indestructible States." In other words, statehood is like joining the Mafia -- you can't leave alive. The Court also noted that the Alaska Constitution (written in 1956) contains many references to its relationship with the federal government -- references that were politically necessary if Alaska were ever to become anything more than a territory.
The Court left no room for argument:
[I]f and to the extent Kohlhaas’s revised initiative seeks secession itself, it is clearly unconstitutional and therefore an improper subject for the initiative process.
After this second Kohlhaas case, it should be clear that the Alaska Constitution, unlike that of Ohio, cannot be amended by an initiative. Article XIII of the Alaska Constitution provides only three methods for amendment: recommendation by two-thirds vote of each house of the State Legislature, by convention, or following a referendum placed by the Lieutenant Governor in which the voters call for a Constitutional Convention.
There is something to be said for having a Constitution that is harder to amend than Ohio's is; but I'm not sure that the initiative route should be completely closed for Constitutional amendments; and in my opinion, the Court's restriction of subject matter as being a priori unconstitutional, was an abuse of its power.
Clearly, achievement of secession by any means will require all the political savvy the Alaska Independence Party can muster. They will have to run an effective statewide campaign, running candidates for every seat in the Alaska legislature, and electing many of them, before secession can become a reality within their legal system.
Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to concentrate on nullification of unconstitutional federal laws that Alaskans find offensive.