Georgia Attorney General Named First Black President of National Association

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker has been elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General, the first black to hold the top post in the nearly 100-year-old legal institution.

Baker was elected by his colleagues from other states for 2006-2007. The announcement was made at last week's annual meeting of the states' top lawyers in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Baker, a Democrat, was appointed Georgia's attorney general in 1997 by then-Gov. Zell Miller. He has twice been elected to four-year terms and is seeking his third.

Baker has also clashed occasionally with Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, notably over Perdue's use of state aircraft. The two also battled over a redistricting plan in what was widely viewed as a larger test of wills over who has the power to call legal shots for the state.

When Baker refused to drop the state's defense of the Democratic plan, Perdue sued him. The Georgia Supreme Court sided with Baker 5-2.

Baker has been honored for his work on open government. Recently, he made a high-profile appearance in the Georgia Supreme Court, sitting next to a top aide who defended the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.