Scholar Rates Ashcroft as Dangerous Attorney General; Former Missouri Senator Served under George W. Bush

By Corrigan, Don | St. Louis Journalism Review, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Scholar Rates Ashcroft as Dangerous Attorney General; Former Missouri Senator Served under George W. Bush


Corrigan, Don, St. Louis Journalism Review


John Ashcroft, attorney general of the United States during George W. Bush's first term as president, say go down as one of the most disastrous attorneys general for American civil liberties in U.S. history.

That is the conclusion of Betty Winfield, University of Missouri Curators Professor in the School of Journalism. Winfield recently published a study in the Missouri Law Review of her historical research on attorneys general who reacted to national crisis situations.

Among the incursions on civil liberties under Ashcroft are assorted privacy invasions; the failure to provide cause for the arrests of terror suspects; the breaking and entering of private premises without a search warrant; and widespread abuses in rejecting and returning immigrants.

Winfield said the news media have not explained what's at stake with the infringements on civil liberties, and the news media have not covered the extent of these infringements.

"The media, in my estimation, have not been the vigilant watchdogs for American civil liberties, especially initially," Winfield said. "Just now after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, just now after so many thousands of Muslims were returned to their home countries or jailed, just now after the ACLU demanded justice documents--are we seeing the extent of the justice department's activities under Ashcroft's tenure."

Winfield identified 78 attorneys general who have broadened the interpretation and enforcement of existing laws during domestic and foreign crises. Winfield has developed four models of attorneys general during wartime and found that Ashcroft fit two of these descriptions.

"John Ashcroft exemplified the relationship between government power and civil liberties," Winfield said. "He either ignored criticism of his actions or labeled those who decried them as aiding terrorists, being unpatriotic and 'living in a dream world.'"

According to Winfield, the four models of these attorneys general are coordinator, extreme aggressor, extreme aggressor-fall guy and leveler. The coordinator facilitates the president's wishes no matter how constitutionally questionable those actions may be, Winfield said.

They're forceful during crises but are not closely identified with overt infringement of civil liberties. Thomas Gregory, President Woodrow Wilson's attorney general during World War I, fit this model.

The extreme aggressor, such as Mitchell Palmer, Wilson's attorney general during the Red Scare years, becomes more ambitious and publicly initiates aggressive actions, Winfield said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Scholar Rates Ashcroft as Dangerous Attorney General; Former Missouri Senator Served under George W. Bush
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.