Comparison of Ashcroft And Gonzales

Georgetown Law Professor, civil liberties expert and Ashcroft critic David Cole compares Ascroft and Gonzales in the new edition of Newsweek. First, his assessment of Ashcroft.

I think his legacy is going to be as one of the worst attorney generals we’ve ever had, not only in terms of the constitutional freedoms this country stands for but also in terms of national security.

Cole is not optimistic about Gonzales. He raises Gonzales' reference to the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and his refusal to apply its protections to Guantanamo Detainees. He adds:

We also know from a New York Times account of the debates that surrounded the development of the military tribunal policy down in Guantanamo that in those debates John Ashcroft was actually the voice of reason and Alberto Gonzales was lined up with the most extreme right-wing voices arguing that there should be virtually no rights to the people who are being tried—in some cases for the death penalty.

Cole doesn't predict how the Senate will vote on Gonzales' confirmation. But he says his record, particularly on the torture issue and the Guantanamo detainees, should give Senators pause.

Update: Joe Conasen has this analysis of Gonzales at Salon. Chris Brauchli adds his thoughts in Re-writing the Geneva Convention.

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