The Albany Times Union has an editorial outlining why John Aschroft should resign as Attorney General.

His departure can't come fast enough. His legacy, after all, will be the Patriot Act. Three years later, it's clearer than ever that this ill-conceived and hastily approved package of anti-terrorism laws made the country no safer. In exchange for an erosion of their civil liberties, Americans got, well, nothing to speak of.

Of course, we agree. But so what? Ashcroft is not the only danger. Bush and his power of appointment are what is to be feared.

Now Mr. Bush wants to get a law on the books that would allow terrorism suspects to be automatically held without bail. The Justice Department itself wants the authority to issue what are known as administrative subpoenas -- that is, without a judge's approval.

The Times Union hopes that Bush will appoint an Attorney General who is more protective of our civil liberties. It's a hope in vain. Bush undoubtedly will appoint another Ashcroft-type servant, one who will implement the policies pushed by the Administration--an Ashcroft clone.

Any replacement for Mr. Ashcroft must be questioned vigorously about his commitment to civil liberties. If Mr. Bush is serious about the politics of conciliation, and about appealing to a constituency bigger than the one that voted for him, this is his chance.

Bush isn't serious about the poltics of conciliation. He's already made clear he is on a mission to expend his political capital. We predict that capital will be spent appointing Ashcroft II. Forgive our pessimism, but we see four more years of overbearing law enforcement, increased mandatory minimum sentences and push for the death penalty, over-crowded jails, emphasis on faith-based initiatives, unfair treatment of non-citizens and further erosion of our civil liberties.

That's the price of losing the election. Whether Ashcroft stays or goes really is beside the point.

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