Then President-elect George W. Bush announced his nomination of Ashcroft for attorney general Dec. 22. Ashcrofts senate confirmation hearing began Jan. 16 and lasted for four days. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats delayed a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to send the vote to the full Senate for confirmation. More than 400 questions were submitted to Ashcroft since the end of his confirmation hearing.
Ashcroft has been criticized for extreme right-wing views, including an anti-abortion stance. Ashcroft is on record for having voted against gun control legislation and has had his civil rights record called into question.
Ashcroft is not right for a position as critical to the country as attorney general. His ultra-conservative views are too extreme to represent the views of many Americans and a position like attorney general needs someone with an open mind to carry out the duty of enforcing U.S. law.
This position is too important to confirm someone without absolute faith that he can fairly carry out his duties. With so many questions about Ashcrofts ability to remain fair, there is good reason to deny his confirmation.
Former Ambassador James Hormel, whose nomination for ambassador to Luxembourg was opposed by then-Missouri Sen. Ashcroft, urged the Senate not to confirm Ashcroft. Hormel is openly gay. Ashcroft denies his opposition to Hormels ambassadorship was on the grounds of sexual orientation, but was quoted as saying he objected to Hormels gay lifestyle.
Recently, a health care expert who applied for a top-level job in the Missouri state government when Ashcroft was governor said Ashcroft asked about his sexuality in a meeting. The man said the question led him to believe sexual orientation was a condition for getting the job.
Ashcroft said at his confirmation hearing he would not consider sexual orientation in the hiring or firing of employees if confirmed, yet his track record does not seem to back up that claim.
His supporters cite a long list of civil rights action taken by Ashcroft as governor of Missouri. Some of these include being one of the first governors to sign a law recognizing Martin Luther King Jr.s birthday, establishing the first and only historical site in Missouri to honor a black American and appointing several blacks to judgeships.
While these moves are admirable, they do not make a huge impact on civil rights.
Ashcrofts strong anti-abortion stance is a threat to a womans freedom of choice. He also opposes exceptions to abortion bans for rape and incest. Ashcroft is also against some forms of birth control, further limiting the reproductive choices of women.
Ashcroft is too conservative to represent America in a post as critical as attorney general. His record brings forth too many doubts about his ability to fairly execute the laws of the country.