Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jan 2001
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2001 The Denver Post Corp
Contact:  1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202
Fax: (303) 820.1502
Author: Brad Pierson


Ordinarily, I'd support the nomination of Sen. John Ashcroft for no other 
reason than I believe a president must be able to gather people around him 
who he can rely upon. But as a person who firmly believes in the U.S. 
Constitution in letter and spirit, I find Ashcroft's position on the 
multiple facets of the war on drugs to be anathema to civil liberty.

Ashcroft supports mandatory minimum sentences that have sent thousands of 
low-level, nonviolent drug offenders to prison for years, even decades.

Ashcroft has sponsored legislation that would gut the First Amendment by 
criminalizing discussions on drug topics on the Internet and destroy the 
Fourth Amendment by allowing police to conduct secret searches of private 
homes. When President-elect George W. Bush begins looking for Supreme Court 
justices, Ashcroft's outlook will not serve Bush well.

Ashcroft disregards the problem of racial disparity in the criminal justice 
system, and has blocked legislation to study the problem of racial 
profiling. This issue has polarized mi nority communities throughout the 

The attorney general has enormous power and influence over drug policy, and 
Ashcroft is not well-suited to the position in this time of social evolution.


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