Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice dies

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Jay Rabinowitz died Saturday at a Seattle hospital after a long illness. He was 74.

Rabinowitz death was announced by Gov. Tony Knowles office. Knowles said Saturday he sought Rabinowitz's guidance often and was saddened by the loss of one of Alaska's great jurists.

Rabinowitz was born in Philadelphia, Pa., graduated from Syracuse University and received his law degree from Harvard University Law School.

He was admitted to the Alaska Bar in 1958 and lived for many years in Fairbanks where he served as a clerk for the U.S. District court, assistant U.S. attorney, deputy attorney general and superior court judge.

Rabinowitz was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1965, when the state was just 6 years old, and served four terms as chief justice. As required by state law, he stepped down from the bench when he turned 70. Most recently he lived in Juneau.

By the time Rabinowitz retired in 1997, he had written 1,213 Supreme Court opinions.

''His voice is heard in thousands of published decisions that established public law in Alaska,'' said Jeff Feldman, an Anchorage attorney and longtime Rabinowitz friend.

Former Attorney General Charlie Cole said, ''We were fortunate to have him formulate the fundamental principles of Alaska law, which will remain with us for perhaps the next 100 years.''

Rabinowitz is survived by his wife, Ann, and their four children.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Saturday.



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