Former Anchorage lawyer named to bench in Idaho

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- One of the lawyers who helped bring down Alaska's subsistence preference law has been named to a judgeship in Idaho.

Cheri Copsey, known as Cheri Jacobus during her time in Alaska, was chosen this week from a field of four by Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne for one of 39 state district judgeships.

A district judge in Idaho is the equivalent of a Superior Court judge in Alaska.

Copsey was a conservative Republican activist during her days in Anchorage. As a lawyer in private practice, she represented a group of hunters who sued the state claiming a rural-priority subsistence law was discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The Alaska Supreme Court threw out the law, setting the stage for the federal takeover of subsistence hunting and fishing on federal lands around the state.

Jacobus headed the Alaska Republican Party in 1990 when Gov. Walter J. Hickel placed her in charge of the Anchorage Attorney General's office, which she ran for more than three years.

She left in May of 1994 to accept a job with the Idaho attorney general. She currently is a deputy attorney general there.

Her appointment in Idaho was applauded by the state's largest newspaper because of her ''experience handling cases against the federal government in land-management disputes,'' and because there are only two other female district judges in the state.

A spokesman for the governor said Kempthorne ''was impressed with Cheri's passion for the law, her enthusiasm and background.''

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