W.A.R. has been avoided, but the battle to name a new state attorney general is far from over.
The Alaska Legislature's rejection of the highly controversial Wayne Anthony Ross - who has been known to go by his initials, W.A.R. - was a surprisingly unprecedented move.
As director of the National Rifle Association, Ross no doubt is a pro at gun safety. But two weeks in office was just enough time for Ross to shoot himself in the foot, and to kill any chance of becoming Alaska's top legal advisor.
Ross's interpretation of state law validating Gov. Sarah Palin's three nominations to Juneau's vacant Senate seat, two of which had previously been rejected, was the first nail in the coffin. Telling Senate Democrats to not concern themselves with "what's legal or illegal but to appoint somebody to represent Juneau" was the second and final nail.
Of greater concern than Ross's past newspaper columns or views on subsistence hunting was his lapdog demeanor, immediately backing Palin's erratic decisions involving the Juneau Senate seat. Ross's best shot at confirmation would have been to oppose Palin. Instead he parroted her every word.
But Alaska's problem with regard to the attorney general position isn't Ross or Palin. It's the job itself.
Can the residents of Alaska ever truly be represented by someone who is held accountable only to the governor who appointed him or her? Based on Ross's recent actions, and the way Talis Colberg handled the Troopergate debacle, treating members of the Palin administration as his own personal clients, the answer points to no.
Palin's next attorney general appointment will be in office until a confirmation vote, or lack thereof, by the Legislature. That could be nine months from now, which could mean nine months of bad counseling and farcical legal opinions.
Forty-five states decide their attorney general through an election, and it would be in Alaska's best interest to do the same. Only then will Alaska's attorney general be beholden to the people, not the administration in power.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.