Gov. Sarah Palin named Anchorage lawyer Wayne Anthony Ross as her new attorney general on Thursday. We did not expect her to pick a gay-friendly AG, however his blatant prejudice expressed in a public letter to the state Bar shows that he is a poor choice for our top attorney:
“During a fight several years ago over gay rights, [Allison] Mendel helped organize Anchorage lawyers in support of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Ross wrote a nasty letter to the Bar Association newsletter, using words like “immoral”, “perversion” and “degenerates.” The language went way beyond reasonable disagreement, Mendel and others said.”
— from Wayne Anthony Ross never a quiet force, Anchorage Daily News
The state House and Senate will hold separate confirmation hearings on his appointment.
Other interesting facts about Wayne Anthony Ross, known as WAR, the initials on his vanity plate:
• He was a founder of Alaska Right to Life and represented, without fee, anti-abortion protesters charged with trespassing. “I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord (but) if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket,” he told a reporter.
• He was the defense lawyer for former Rep. Vic Kohring, who is serving a 3 1/2 year sentence on corruption charges.
• He opposes Native subsistence rights and was the lead lawyer in the case that got Alaska’s subsistence law declared unconstitutional. When running for governor in 2002, he said he would hire a band of “junkyard dog” assistant AG’s to challenge the federal law that requires subsistence preference, or seek changes through Congress.
• He wrote for the Anchorage Times and the conservative Voice of the Times, and titles like “KKK ‘ Art’ Project Gets’ A’ For Courage” are listed on the publications page of his Ross & Miner law office.
• He represented Palin in her ethics case against state GOP chair Randy Ruedrich when both were on the Oil and Gas Commission, and co-chaired Palin’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign. He was hoping for an appointment to head the Department of Health and Social Services so he could “stop the department from interfering with families when they should not be interfering and get them interfering with families when they should be interfering” but he was passed over.
• He defended a man who twice poured buckets of water from a passing pickup onto anti-war demonstrators in the rain and snow. His client was convicted of harassment and violating constitutional rights.
• He was the co-chair of Alaskans for Phil Gramm. (Gramm is one of the people responsible for the current economic crisis, and as co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign he called us “a nation of whiners.”)
• He is a former vice president of the National Rifle Association and was in line to become president but was voted out of office. He is still a director of the NRA.
• He ran for governor in 1998 and 2002. (Think he’ll use the AG post as a stepping stone to the governor’s mansion?)