Sarah Palin (R)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline)-Gov. Sarah Palin's pick for the state's next lieutenant governor does not need legislative approval, state Attorney General Dan Sullivan said in an opinion.

Even so, Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Craig Campbell should serve as acting lieutenant governor when Palin steps down July 26, Sullivan wrote in an opinion released Friday.

Alaska state law "states that the second-in-line appointee is subject to legislative confirmation," Sullivan wrote. " However, the Legislature is not in session to confirm this appointment and with the recent announcement of Governor Palin's resignation, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell is scheduled to assume the governorship on July 26, 2009, leaving a vacancy in the position of lieutenant governor."

Sullivan added that he believes Campbell's appointment would survive a court challenge. His opinion differs from the Legislature's top lawyer who says Campbell can't become lieutenant governor without legislative approval.

In a surprise announcement at a press conference in her hometown of Wasilla this month, Palin said she will leave the governor's office, a move that has spurred speculation the first-term governor plans to focus on a presidential race in 2012.

"Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose," Palin said in a statement.

Palin was elected governor of Alaska in November 2006, becoming the first woman and the youngest person to hold the job. She defeated incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary in 2006.

She was Arizona Sen. John McCain's U.S. vice presidential running mate last year.
From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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