This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.
Wayne Anthony Ross cuts a colorful and controversial figure in Alaska. Sarah Palin's choice for attorney general is a man of strong opinions on matters like subsistence hunting and fishing policies, gun rights, abortion and states' rights. He told Alaska legislators that he can put those personal views aside and enforce Alaska law as it is, not as he might wish it to be.
That approach blunted much of the controversy surrounding his nomination.
He could have cleared his way to easy confirmation but for one sad blind spot: He refuses to disavow past use of the term "degenerates" in referring to homosexuals.
When asked in a Senate confirmation hearing this week if he still believes gays are "degenerates," Ross refused to say. The unabashed man of strong opinions became evasive.
"My job is to represent all Alaskans. My personal opinions have no place," he said.
Yet he felt free to give his personal opinion on a number of other topics, including his belief that the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, Roe vs. Wade, should be overturned, and his belief that a former client of his who assaulted anti-war protesters had behaved inappropriately.
Ross has been criticized by Alaska Native groups because he has been an outspoken opponent of giving rural Alaskans a priority for subsistence hunting and fishing. While we disagree with his stance, that is not a litmus test. Arguments over subsistence hunting and fishing rights have raged in Alaska for decades.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.