URGENT ACTION ALERT

a division of Home School Legal Defense Association
January 10, 2001

Urgent Federal Legislative AlertóConfirmation of John Ashcroft

Dear Home School Families:

The United States Senate is holding hearings at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, on the confirmation of Senator John Ashcroft (Missouri) as Attorney General of the United States. We urge all home schoolers and others who believe in strong protection for the constitutional rights of all citizens to call their U.S. senators and urge them to vote YES to confirm John Ashcroft.

BACKGROUND:

Senator Ashcroft is fully qualified to be Attorney General. He served eight years as the Attorney General of Missouri before being elected to two terms as that state's governor and then to the United States Senate. In the Senate, he chaired the Constitution Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. In fact, John Ashcroft is MORE qualified than the current Attorney General.

WHY HOME SCHOOLERS SHOULD CARE:

There are at least four reasons the Attorney General of the United States is the most important cabinet position in relation to the home schooling community.

(1) John Ashcroft has been a special friend to the home schooling community, and in fact, won our National Legislator of the Year Award. He personally led the fight to stop President Clinton's (illegal) plan to impose national testing without congressional authorization. Ashcroft also led the effort to pass a Senate resolution establishing National Home Education Week in 1999 and he spoke at HSLDA's national conference.

(2) John Ashcroft also deserves our support because he has proven himself a champion of our freedoms. The Justice Department is the chief source for legal advice for the United States government. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child could receive action in the Senate where Hillary Clinton is waiting to push it to ratification. As a senator, John Ashcroft was the sole voice to question Madeleine Albright regarding the Clinton Administration's promotion of the UN Treaty. We need an Attorney General who believes in the constitutional rights of Americans and the sovereignty of America to protect our families from this UN treaty. The treaty is lurking for now-but it is the most dangerous threat to home schooling and parental rights ever conceived.

(3) Home schoolers are unlike the groups that come to Washington asking for federal funding for their pet projects. We are primarily asking the federal government to respect our constitutional rights and leave us alone. The Attorney General's Office can be critical in this area.

(4) The Attorney General will be the key government official during the federal judge nominating process. HSLDA stands before the federal courts day after day. It is impossible to overstate the long range importance to all freedom-loving Americans that judges are screened by an Attorney General who believes in the original intent of the Constitution.

POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION:

The attack on John Ashcroft has grown very ugly-an extension of the politics of personal destruction that has become such a frequent practice in recent years.

You may have seen some of the attacks in the media. Certain special interest groups are screaming that Senator Ashcroft is a racist because he refused to vote to confirm Ronnie White, a member of the Missouri Supreme Court, to a federal judicial position.

Fifty-four U.S. senators voted against Ronnie White. Are all 54 racists? And why did they really vote against Mr. White?

FACTS ABOUT JUDGE RONNIE WHITE:

The rejection of Ronnie White stemmed from a 1998 decision in the Missouri Supreme Court of State of Missouri v. James R. Johnson. A sheriff's deputy went to Johnson's home to investigate a domestic dispute. The sheriff talked briefly with Johnson's family and walked back to his car. Johnson shot the deputy in the back of the head and as the deputy moaned in pain on the ground, killed him with a bullet to the forehead. Johnson immediately loaded his car with guns and drove to the sheriff's house. Shooting through the window, he killed the sheriff's wife with five shots. She was leading a Bible study group at the time. She died in front of her family. He then went to another officer's home and shot the officer through a window four times. That officer miraculously survived. Johnson then headed to the sheriff's office where he waited in ambush expecting a bevy of police officers to converge on him. He shot down two more officers in the parking lot-killing them instantly.

Ronnie White was the sole judge on the Missouri Supreme Court who believed it was wrong to impose the death penalty on James R. Johnson.

FACTS ABOUT SENATOR ASHCROFT:

Senator Ashcroft believed that Judge White displayed a wrong understanding of the law and the Constitution by siding with Johnson rather than upholding the law which vindicated the lives of these courageous police officers and their families.

When he was governor of Missouri, John Ashcroft appointed numerous African-Americans as judges, including the first African-American to Missouri's second highest court. He signed into law a statute aimed at stopping violent racism. He signed into law Missouri's Martin Luther King Day holiday.

As a Senator, he voted for all twenty-six African-American judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Why did John Ashcroft vote against Ronnie White? Because Ashcroft believes in the principles of law and the need to uphold justice.

PFAW OPPOSES PEOPLE OF FAITH:
People for the American Way (PFAW) has been leading the attack against John Ashcroft. Among their reasons given for opposing Ashcroft is his leadership against national testing-a move strongly supported by America's home schoolers. Their real reason for opposing John Ashcroft is that "he is on the far right edge of the political spectrum." This allegation needs to be placed in context. People for the American Way was founded in 1980 to oppose the influence of the "Religious Right" in politics. PFAW's president recently declared, "we are very proud of our opposition to the Religious Right." The real reason they have attacked John Ashcroft is that he is a born-again Christian who takes his faith seriously.

When John Kennedy ran for president, there were some voices who opposed him because he was Catholic. Joseph Lieberman undoubtedly heard some voices who opposed him because he was Jewish. Not everyone who opposed these men was a religious bigot, but there were voices of bigotry there, just below the surface. We hear the same deep, ugly gurglings of religious bigotry as groups like PFAW castigate Senator John Ashcroft.

We urge every HSLDA member to call, fax, or write your United States senators. Regular mail will be too slow because the hearings are scheduled for next week.

ACTION REQUESTED:

  1. Call, fax, or e-mail both of your United States senators IMMEDIATELY and

    1. TELL them, "It is time to stop the politics of personal destruction. I agree with John Ashcroft, not Ronnie White, in the case involving the murder of Missouri police officers and their families. Ashcroft is fully qualified for the job of Attorney General.

      He is a man of integrity and expertise. John Ashcroft should be confirmed as Attorney General."

    2. ASK them how they are going to vote on the confirmation.

    THERE IS NO NEED TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A HOME SCHOOLER.

  2. Please pray for John, his wife Janet, and the outcome of this fight.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR SENATOR:

There are several ways to contact your SENATORS.

  1. Call the Capitol switchboard number 202-224-3121 and ask for your senator's office.

  2. Use our Legislative Toolbox for contact information or to send an e-mail. Go to our John Ashcroft Confirmation web page at http://www.hslda.org/ashcroft.asp and enter your ZIP Code. Our Legislative Toolbox will provide you with phone numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses for your senators. You can also send an e-mail right from our website.

Remember you can call your senators' state offices as well. The Toolbox will also provide you with that contact information.

THIS IS URGENT. PLEASE ACT RIGHT NOW. PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. MAKE HARD COPIES AND CIRCULATE THEM AT CHURCH AND ELSEWHERE.


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