ACLU Says Ashcroft Statement Shows Clear Disdain For Rule of Law,Calls On Bush Administration to Denounce Controversial Remarks

November 12, 2004 12:00 am

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Statement of Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director


WASHINGTON – The nation’s top law enforcement officer today expressed his clear disdain for the rule of law. The Bush Administration and its Attorney General nominee should immediately denounce today’s comments by outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Mr. Ashcroft’s comments before the Federalist Society today harkened back to his infamous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee soon after the attacks of 9/11, in which he said that those who questioned the government’s policies “aid the terrorists.”

In his first public comments since announcing his resignation, Ashcroft said that “the danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war.”

Today’s comments reflect a disturbing view of the role of the courts and of Congress in providing checks and balances to the president’s powers — even in times of military conflict — that keep him from infringing on the rights of Americans. True to form, Attorney General Ashcroft expressed disdain for anyone who dared to disagree with him, including judges.

When Mr. Ashcroft said two years ago that those who scare people with ‘phantoms of lost liberty’ are aiding the enemy, who knew he meant federal judges?

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