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John Ashcroft should not be attorney general of the United States. His fundamental beliefs and values conflict sharply with his responsibility to enforce the law.

His supporters argue that his word is good because his faith is strong and that he should be believed when he says he will enforce the law. Did any senator really expect Ashcroft to testify: "I will not uphold or enforce the law"?

It is not his word, but his actions, that frighten those citizens most in need of a strong attorney general -- minorities who believe in racial justice, affirmative action and voluntary school desegregation; women who seek to enforce and honor their constitutional right to choose; gays and lesbians who seek inclusion in every aspect of our society; victims of violent crimes who want sensible gun control; and members of the judiciary who fear their record may be distorted like that of Judge Ronnie White.

Ashcroft's views and actions on these important issues are extreme. President Bush surely recognized this when he expressed his initial preference for a respected conservative Republican, Montana. Gov. Mark Racicot, for the post.

Ashcroft is not the proper person for such an important appointment, and it is astonishing that not one Republican senator could find the courage or sense to say so and vote no.



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