Ashcroft, John


Ashcroft, John
▪ 2003

      As U.S. attorney general, John Ashcroft was at the centre of policy changes adopted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) during 2002. Following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, he pressed for passage of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act, which expanded the government's power to detain noncitizens, conduct surveillance and search, and investigate persons suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Perhaps no actions were more controversial, however, than the administration's handling of some 1,200 people jailed after the attacks. These included immigration violators whose cases were heard in secret, a number of people held as material witnesses, and two U.S. nationals classified as “enemy combatants” and thus denied the legal rights of citizens. The DOJ vigorously resisted challenges to its actions from the courts and from members of the U.S. Congress and the press.

      Ashcroft was born in Chicago on May 9, 1942, and grew up in Springfield, Mo. He was a graduate of Yale University (B.A., 1964) and the University of Chicago (J.D., 1967). Before entering politics in 1973, when he was appointed state auditor, he taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University. He was elected state attorney general in 1976 and reelected in 1980, and in 1984 he won the first of two terms as governor. As attorney general and governor of Missouri, he was known for fiscally and socially conservative policies, including restrictions on abortions. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 but was defeated in 2000, when he lost to a deceased candidate whose name remained on the ballot. Nominated by President-elect George W. Bush as attorney general, Ashcroft faced intense questioning in the Senate, particularly on his attitudes toward blacks and homosexuals and on his ability as a fundamentalist Christian to uphold U.S. law, but he was confirmed by a vote of 58 to 42.

      Ashcroft took a number of positions favoured by the political right. In May 2002 the DOJ informed the U.S. Supreme Court that henceforth the government would consider the Second Amendment to the Constitution to give individual citizens the right to own guns, a reversal of a long-held more restrictive interpretation. Ashcroft approved giving agents of the FBI permission to monitor people in public areas—for example, in libraries and on the Internet—without evidence that a crime had been committed. Not all of Ashcroft's policies were well received, however. A number of local officials rebuffed his request that they call in Arab Americans for questioning, and courts ruled that he had overreached his authority in striking down an Oregon law permitting assisted suicide. When he announced a plan whereby workers with access to citizens' homes would be enlisted to report suspicious activity—the so-called Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS—it was denounced by both the left and the right and had to be substantially modified.

Robert Rauch

* * *

▪ American politician
in full  John David Ashcroft 
born May 9, 1942, Chicago, Ill., U.S.
 
 U.S. politician and lawyer, who served as attorney general of the United States (2001–05). He was known for his conservative policies and his support of the USA Patriot Act.

      After graduating from Yale University (B.A., 1964) and the University of Chicago (J.D., 1967), Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University. In 1972 he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of the Republican Party. After serving as state auditor (1973–75), Ashcroft in 1976 was elected to the first of two terms as state attorney general, a post in which he earned much attention for his enforcement of a state law that restricted abortions.

      In 1984 Ashcroft was elected governor of Missouri, and he was reelected in 1988. During his tenure as governor, he promoted fiscally and socially conservative policies. In 1994 he was elected to the U.S. Senate but was defeated in 2000, when he lost to Mel Carnahan, who had died shortly before the election and whose name remained on the ballot (Carnahan's position in the Senate was taken by his wife). Subsequently, he was nominated by George W. Bush (Bush, George W.) as U.S. attorney general. Ashcroft faced intense questioning in the Senate, particularly on his attitudes toward African Americans and homosexuals and on his ability as a fundamentalist Christian to uphold U.S. law, but he was confirmed by a vote of 58 to 42.

      As attorney general, Ashcroft was at the centre of policy changes adopted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) during 2002. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks (September 11 attacks) in 2001, he pressed for the passage of the USA Patriot Act (formally the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001), which expanded the government's power to detain noncitizens, conduct surveillance and search, and investigate persons suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Ashcroft approved giving agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation permission to monitor people in public areas—in libraries and on the Internet, for example—without evidence that a crime had been committed. Perhaps no actions were more controversial, however, than his department's handling of some 1,200 people jailed after the attacks. These included immigration violators whose cases were heard in secret and two U.S. nationals classified as “enemy combatants” and thus denied the legal rights of citizens. Ashcroft and the DOJ vigorously resisted challenges to its actions from the courts and from members of the U.S. Congress and the press.

      On Nov. 9, 2004, Ashcroft announced his resignation as attorney general and was succeeded in February 2005 by Alberto Gonzales (Gonzales, Alberto R.). Ashcroft subsequently founded a strategic consulting firm and became a professor at Regent University in Virginia. He has written a number of books, including Lessons from a Father to His Son (1998) and Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice (2006).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John David Ashcroft — John Ashcroft John Ashcroft (oben, 5. v. l.) beim Treffen der G8 Minister für Inneres und Justiz im Mai 2004 John David Ashcroft (* 9. Ma …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John David Ashcroft — John Ashcroft John Ashcroft Portrait officiel de John D. Ashcroft, 2001 79e Attorney General des États Unis 2 février 2001 20  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Ashcroft — (oben, 5. v. l.) beim Treffen der G8 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Ashcroft — 79º Fiscal General de los Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Ashcroft — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ashcroft (homonymie). John Ashcroft Portrait officiel de John D. Ashcroft, 2001 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ashcroft — is a surname.Ashcroft may also refer to: *Ashcroft, Gloucestershire, England, which is the namesake of: **Ashcroft, British Columbia, a village in Canada *Ashcroft, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney, Australia *Ashcroft Technology Academy, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Ashcroft — bezeichnet Ashcroft (British Columbia), einen Ort in der kanadischen Provinz Britisch Kolumbien Ashcroft (Colorado), Ort in den Vereinigten Staaten Ashcroft (Massachusetts), Ort in den Vereinigten Staaten Ashcroft (Volk), eine der First Nations… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ashcroft (Colombie-Britannique) — Ashcroft Ashcroft Caserne historique de Ashcroft, rebâtie en 1919. Administration Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Jordan Crittenden — John J. Crittenden John Jordan Crittenden (* 10. September 1786 oder 1787 in Versailles, Kentucky; † 26. Juli 1863 in Frankfort, Kentucky) war ein US amerikanischer Jurist, Politiker, US Senator …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John M. Berrien — John MacPherson Berrien (* 23. August 1781 in Rocky Hill, New Jersey; † 1. Januar 1856 in Savannah, Georgia) war ein US amerikanischer Jurist, Politiker, US Senator un …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.