Stop Ashcroft Coalition formed
broad coalition of organizations from various human rights, civil
rights, women's rights, criminal justice, drug policy, gay advocacy
and environmental organizations has come together to oppose the
nomination of John Ashcroft as United States Attorney General.
It is the largest coalition to ever oppose an executive branch
nomination and has come together more quickly than the coalition
that successfully opposed the Bork nomination to the Supreme
Court. The coalition held its first public event on January 8,
2001 - in attendance were over three dozen organizations. The
event drew 20 television cameras and numerous other media. At
an organizing meeting later in the day over 80 leading Washington
operatives came together to strategize to stop this nomination.
They represent a grass roots base of millions of people.
As you know, Senator Ashcroft is a grave danger to sensible drug
policy as well as other important issues. He favors a policy
based almost solely on interdiction and law enforcement. He has
advocated cutting treatment and prevention budgets to expand
drug war strategies (even though two of every three federal dollars
already go to law enforcement). He opposes needle exchange, opposes
reforms to stop racial profiling, favors mandatory sentencing,
opposes medical marijuana, favors prosecution for web links to
certain drug advocacy cites and has favored secret searches (where
police can conduct warrantless searches without telling the property
owner they did so).
It is likely that the hearings will start in mid-January under
the Chairmanship of Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) and will conclude
under the Chairmanship of Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) after President-elect
Bush is inaugurated. The decision on this nomination could be
made by the end of January so prompt action is necessary.
Stopping this nomination will be an uphill battle, but stopping
it is possible. It will take an intensive focus on energizing
the grass roots base of many organizations from many different
issue areas including drug policy reform and influencing the
media in their coverage of Senator Ashcroft.
While you should contact your senators, the initial focus is
on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The current members of this
Republicans Orrin G. Hatch (UT), Strom Thurmond (SC), Charles
E. Grassley (IA), Arlen Specter (PA), Jon Kyl (AZ), Jeff Sessions(
(AL), Robert C. Smith (NH) John Ashcroft (MO) and Spence Abraham
(MI) were defeated in the recent election.
Democrats Patrick J. Leahy (VT), Edward M. Kennedy (MA), Joseph
R. Biden (DE), Herb Kohl (WI), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Russell
D. Feingold (WI), Robert G. Torricelli (NJ), Charles E. Schummer
The make-up of this committee will change as the new Senate takes
While all of these Senators need to be contacted, members of
the committee that need particular attention through letters,
phone calls, emails and faxes, especially from people from their
states, include: Arlen Specter (PA), Mike DeWine (OH), Dianne
Feinstein (CA), Herb Kohl (WI), Russell Feingold (WI), Robert
Stopping this nomination is very important to our making progress.
I urge you to take action today and urge your colleagues, members,
activists and friends to join you in doing so.
If anyone would like additional information on this matter, please
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.