During Wednesday’s Senate confirmation hearings on Sen. John Ashcroft’s nomination as Attorney General, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) voiced strong doubt that Ashcroft’s new promises to defend women’s rights, abortion rights, civil rights and gay rights can be trusted. “I have listened carefully to Senator John Ashcroft yesterday and today. Waters said, “It is clear to me that John Ashcroft is attempting to deny the passion and poor judgment he has displayed on certain critical issues, such as abortion, guns, civil rights and voter rights. I simply do not trust John Ashcroft. I believe he is simply saying whatever he believes is necessary to be confirmed.”
During Rep. Jackson Lee’s speech to the Judiciary Committee, she outlined Ashcroft’s 20-year battle against desegregation in Missouri schools as Attorney General and Governor of the state, noting his actions to undercut US Supreme Court’s desegregation decision, Brown v. Board of Education, and his repeated refusal to cooperate with desegregation plans. Lee spoke about the position of Attorney General as one that ensures vulnerable people are protected, and questioned if Ashcroft could “be the protector that [he] needs to be for the people of the United States,” considering his record.
Sen. Feinstein expressed distrust of Ashcroft as well after he testified that he would defend the constitutionality of gun controls if confirmed as Attorney GeneralAshcroft opposed gun control measures while in the Senate. “Frankly, I don’t know what to believe,” said Feinstein. Similar doubts have arisen about Ashcroft’s veracity with regard to abortion, civil rights and gay rights. Ashcroft has held anti-woman’s rights, anti-civil rights and anti-gay rights while serving in public office, but now pledges to enforce laws that would protect women, abortion, gay and civil rights.