A US judge is to hear arguments this week about whether he should halt the Alaska Legislature’s abuse-of-power investigation of governor Sarah Palin, the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in a lawsuit filed by five Republican politicians.
They say the investigation has been tainted by partisan politics since Ms Palin became Senator John McCain’s running mate.
The Republicans want to block the state legislative council’s investigation into whether Ms Palin acted improperly when she fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan this summer.
Ms Palin denies that she pressured Mr Monegan to fire a state trooper who had gone through a bitter divorce with her sister.
Meanwhile, it has been calculated that if Mr McCain is elected and goes on to win a second term, there is as much as a one-in-four chance that Ms Palin could become president.
An Atlanta actuarial company specialising in estimates of life and health expectancy has run the numbers for Mr McCain, 72, and rival Barack Obama, 47.
The odds highly favour either men completing a first four-year term in good health.
After that, Mr McCain’s chances of dying or being in poor health go up faster than Mr Obama’s, mainly because of his age.
Mr McCain would be the oldest president to begin a first term in office. By the end of a second term, January 20 2017, he would have a 24.44% chance of dying, compared with 5.76% for Mr Obama, the firm estimates.