CASPER, Wyo. — A Glendale lawyer who says only white people should be allowed to be U.S. citizens has joined the scramble for Wyoming's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The seat was left vacant when Richard B. Cheney was named U.S. Secretary of Defense by President Bush.
The candidate, William Daniel Johnson, a Columbia Law School graduate, categorically denies that he is a racist, but his Wyoming campaign is being managed by Casper Ku Klux Klan organizer John Abarr.
Johnson has obtained the necessary 479 petition signatures and will be on the April 26 special election ballot, said Wyoming Secretary of State Kathy Karpin. Johnson said he moved to Wyoming on March 19, the day he registered to vote in the state.
Entitled to Run
As a Wyoming voter, Johnson is entitled to run for Congress under the Constitution, Karpin said.
"We used to have a 30-day durational requirement to register," Karpin said. But she added that courts have struck down such requirements.
During a telephone interview Wednesday from his Glendale law office, Johnson described himself as "middle of the road as the white line." He said his most hard-working supporters are non-whites who are either black nationalists or are otherwise opposed to integration.
Using the pseudonym of James O. Pace, Johnson drafted the radical "Pace Amendment" to the Constitution, which would limit U.S. citizenship and permanent residency to whites and would eliminate the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States. A 1987 report by the Western division of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith linked Johnson to the amendment.
Johnson acknowledged that he is the author of the Pace Amendment.
"I'm surprised he admitted that," said Betsy Rosenthal, Western States Civil Rights director for the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles and an author of the ADL report on the proposed amendment. "He wants to, somehow, hide his true identity to people. He tries to keep his professional lawyer life separate from his Pace Amendment activities."
Johnson's proposed amendment states in part: "No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic White, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro Blood, nor more than one-eighths Mongolian, Asian, Asia-Minor, Middle-Eastern, Semitic, Near-Eastern, American Indian, Malay, or other non-European or non-White blood. . . . Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States."
Johnson said he does not want to dwell on race issues, adding that he is a strong environmentalist and a fiscal conservative. He said he is against abortion, except in cases involving rape, incest and health dangers to the woman. He also said he is against South African apartheid, since "segregation is also wrong."
Since graduating from Columbia Law School in 1981, Johnson said, he has practiced law at large firms in New York, Tokyo and Seoul, and now at his own firm of Johnson and Gardner in Glendale. He said that he is only licensed to practice law in California but that he plans to apply for membership in the Wyoming bar.
Johnson, 34, would not say how many days he has spent in Casper since moving to the Wyoming and registering to vote.
Neither Johnson nor Abarr would say where Johnson now lives.
Johnson said he is closing his Glendale practice.
Late last week, Wyoming Republicans nominated state Rep. Craig Thomas of Casper for the position left vacant by Cheney. And last weekend, Democrats nominated state Sen. John Vinich, a populist who advocates such programs as national health insurance.