Judging John Ashcroft

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Could John Ashcroft pass the Ashcroft test for confirmation as the U.S. attorney general? As a Senator from Missouri he made a reputation not just for his Christian conservative thinking but for his critical probes of the minds of Clinton appointees, and then his sometimes stubbornly ideological opposition.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on which Ashcroft served has now postponed the vote on him that was scheduled for today. Democrats are waiting on an FBI report, copies of old Ashcroft speeches, and written answers to over 300 questions from the hearings last week. No one expects to find any skeletons in Ashcroft’s closet. The question is likely to be the same one that Ashcroft raised in scuttling Clinton nominees like Bill Lan Lee and Ronnie White: can a man rise above ideology? Can he enforce laws he doesn’t believe in? Is his thinking more relevant than his competency? Judging John Ashcroft is next.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist

Stuart Taylor, National Review editor

and John Fund, editor for the Wall Street Journal.