New ACLU Report Finds Ashcroft Record Rife With Hostility to Civil Rights, Civil Liberties

January 16, 2001 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — Releasing a report that outlines a record rife with hostility to civil rights and liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged the U.S. Senate to carefully review the positions and policies of John Ashcroft as it considers his nomination as Attorney General of the United States.

“John Ashcroft’s record demonstrates that he is willing to change the law to impose his particular religious and moral views on all Americans,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington National Office. “Integrity in pursuit of such a goal is no virtue.”

As a nonpartisan organization that has never endorsed or opposed Cabinet nominees, the ACLU is not taking a position on whether Ashcroft should be confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General. Instead, the ACLU is analyzing and disseminating his positions on important civil liberties issues and urging the Senate to evaluate them in light of grave responsibility and vast powers of the Attorney General.

In report released today on the Ashcroft record — Not Moderate, Not Compassionate, Not Conservative: John Ashcroft’s Radical Revisionism of Basic Constitutional Values in America — the ACLU said that Ashcroft’s legislative career has not been one of total hostility to civil liberties. But considered in its totality, Ashcroft’s policies “represent radical notions about changing the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to conform to his vision of liberty and justice for some.”

The ACLU report examined the Ashcroft record in eight specific areas, including a fundamental disdain for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and a willingness to eviscerate other rights, such as religious liberty, free speech, reproductive freedom and remedies designed to seek racial equality.

“After an examination of Sen. Ashcroft’s statements and his votes on major federal legislation,” the ACLU’s Murphy said, “we conclude that he supports a radical evisceration of rights as we now know them.”

Click here to view the ACLU report in PDF format.

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