Despite decades of unmitigated administrative success, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) is not immune from political and legal controversy. The symbolic and financial importance that Alaskans ascribe to their annual dividend checks has generated disputes between ordinary residents and executive agencies over eligibility. Litigation concerning three dominant status requirements - minimum residency, U.S. citizenship, and felony incarceration - reveal not only the extent to which Alaskans will pursue what they believe to be valid claims on their share of natural resource wealth, but also the limits of full political membership in the state. This Comment frames a sample of the Alaska Supreme Court's decisions on PFD eligibility in terms of membership in Alaska's political community. The PFD reflects the Alaska Legislature's opinion about valid beneficiaries from oil revenues, and the state courts police eligibility at the margin. This Comment therefore argues that the Alaska Supreme Court implicitly determines, on the basis of statutory intent and administrative rule interpretations, "insiders" and "outsiders" within the state's political community.

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Response or Comment

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Publication Information

29 Alaska Law Review 79-92 (2012)