January 26, 2001
Chancellor Expresses Concern on Ashcroft NominationChancellor Primavera Sends Letter to all Members of the United States Senate Expressing Concern on Ashcroft Nomination
I write today to express the Philadelphia Bar Association’s very real concern regarding the nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General of the United States.
At a meeting of this Association’s Board of Governors on January 25, Board members voiced continuing skepticism about the advisability of this nomination notwithstanding Senator Ashcroft’s recent testimony and the statements of his various defenders. The leaders of this 13,000 member Association are deeply troubled by this nomination.
If confirmed, Senator Ashcroft would become the chief law enforcement officer in the United States. We must be assured that he will uphold and defend the Constitution and the law and that he will enforce the law fairly, uniformly and without prejudice. Unfortunately, the former Senator’s record and past statements cast doubt on his commitment to civil rights, reproductive rights, gay rights and even free speech. These are serious matters that give rise to very real and legitimate concerns. Even as I write there are unanswered questions and lingering doubts.
An Attorney General of the United States must bring to the office an understanding of this nation's rich diversity and a sense of inclusiveness assuring everyone that the words "equal protection of the law" mean what they say. In his Inaugural address President Bush pledged: "I will work to build single nation of justice and opportunity." That is a goal that we all share.
I urge you to examine this nomination scrupulously; to take whatever care and time that is necessary and to thoroughly consider its potential implications and ramifications.
Carl S. Primavera