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John David Ashcroft

From dKosopedia


John David Ashcroft (born May 9, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois) was the 79th Attorney General of the United States. He served in the first administration of President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2005.

Ashcroft was educated in Springfield, Missouri, and at Yale University, where he graduated in 1964. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago in 1967, and briefly taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University.

He began his career in Missouri government in 1973. He was Governor of Missouri from 1985 to 1993. In 1994 he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, where he became a leading opponent of the Clinton Administration's Clipper encryption restrictions. He ran for reelection in 2000 against then-Governor Mel Carnahan, who died in an airplane crash about two weeks before the election. Due to Missouri state election laws, Carnahan's name could not be removed from the ballot, and his wife, Jean Carnahan, announced that she would serve in her husband's place should he be elected. Carnahan won the election with her late husband's name still on the ballot. Following his defeat, Ashcroft was nominated as U.S. Attorney General by president-elect George W. Bush in December 2000. Despite some contention from Democrats, Ashcroft was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58-42.

Ashcroft worships in the Assembly of God church. Whenever he was sworn in to any political office, he had himself anointed with cooking oil.

Ashcroft is noted for ordering that the partially nude statues of Liberty and Justice, which stands in a meeting room where he held press conferences, be covered with curtains. Ashcroft denied these allegations however. It has also been said that this action was taken because he felt that reporters were photographing him alongside the statues to make fun of his church's opposition to "pornography".

Ashcroft is considered a leading member of the Christian right wing of the Republican Party and is one of the highest-ranked representatives of that group in the Bush Administration. Ashcroft's religious beliefs have led opponents, including Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), to question his ability to effectively enforce certain laws, especially those pertaining to abortion. Ashcroft maintained that he will enforce laws whether he agrees with them or not.

Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Ashcroft prepared the Patriot Act - a huge bill that granted sweeping and unprecedented power to law enforcement officials. One of his primary counselors during this time was Adam G. Ciongoli.

In July 2002, Ashcroft proposed the creation of Operation TIPS, a domestic program in which workers and government employees would inform law enforcement agencies about suspicious behavior they encounter while performing their duties. The program was widely criticized in the media as an encroachment upon the First and Fourth Amendments, and the United States Postal Service balked at the program, refusing outright to participate. Ashcroft defended the program as a necessary component of the ongoing War on Terrorism, but the proposal was eventually abandoned.

Ashcroft's positions on privacy, civil liberties and anti-terrorism measures made him an extremely controversial figure, and groups opposed to the Bush administration often used him as a shorthand reference for all the reasons they opposed him. Some of his most prominent critics were organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-choice groups. Many liberal commentators claimed that Ashcroft used the threat of terrorism to further political goals; one prominent example was a news conference held in May of 2004, which critics claimed was an attempt to distract attention from a drop in the approval ratings of President Bush, who at the time was campaigning for re-election.

Ashcroft's opponents allege that he used the threat of terrorism as a justification for unnecessarily restricting civil liberties. Some of those opponents have perjoratively labeled his polices as "Ashcroftism." Publications such as refer to him as "Grand Inquisitor" Ashcroft[1].

In May 2004, Ashcroft entered the George Washington Medical Center with gallstone pancreatitis; surgeons removed his gallbladder (cholecystectomy) within a week.

On November 9, 2004 Ashcroft resigned his post as Attorney General effective upon the Senate confirmation of his successor, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. His resignation letter claimed: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." The letter was hand-written in order to maintain confidentiality.





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The rendition featured in Michael Moore's 2004 movie Fahrenheit 9/11.

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This page was last modified 05:09, 28 October 2007 by Chad Lupkes. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Corncam, BartFraden, Allamakee Democrat, Lestatdelc, IrishAlum, Neoconned and Kagro X. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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