Student activists have joined an unprecedented effort by women’s rights, abortion rights, civil rights, gun control, environmental and gay and lesbian rights organizations to oppose the nomination of John Ashcroft for U.S. Attorney General. Young feminist activists – high school students, college students, and interns – take to Capitol Hill today in a lobby day organized by the Feminist Majority to urge Senators to block Ashcroft’s confirmation.
The effort has taken on increased urgency since the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 10-8 decision yesterday to send Ashcroft’s nomination to the Senate floor for approval later this week. Casting his “no” vote yesterday, Sen. Daschle (D-SD) made it clear he thought Ashcroft would “erode decades of progress on civil rights in America.” Sen. Kohl (D-WI) said he thought Ashcrofts views were “far out of the mainstream of American life,” and expressed concern that Ashcroft would “push and prod the law” to conform to those beliefs.
Given Ashcroft’s long history of opposition to women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights and reproductive rights, young activists feel it is important to make their voices heard by the Senate. Says Annie O’Connell, recent alum of the New College of the University of South Florida and a Field Coordinator for the Feminist Majority, “We, as young people, have the most to lose by the nomination of this right-wing extremistÉwe are the ones who need access to safe and affordable reproductive healthcare, and John Ashcroft has spent most of his political career trying to take that access away.”