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Quizzing Ashcroft
Senators ask tough questions --- how are the answers?

Thanks to Scott Miller for compiling these questions and answers. Drop a note to Scott to join his mailing list.

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(Exchange between Ashcroft and Senator Dianne Feinstein D-CA)

From Scott: (Please note that this testimony is in direct contradiction to Ashcroft's earlier statement that sexual orientation had anything to do with denying Hormel an ambassadorship. He does not dispute Senator Feinstein's assertion that Hormel's sexuality was his reason for opposing him. Why was this contradiction not raised?)

ASHCROFT: "I would state this: I think it's clear. These hearings have been valuable in this respect, that I am sensitive at a higher level now than I was before, that the attorney general in particular needs to be careful about what he or she does. And I would be sensitive to accepting invitations so as to now allow a presumption to be made that I was endorsing things that would divide people instead of unite them.

FEINSTEIN: Along those lines, let me ask you another question. You were on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Jim Hormel, a person whom I happen to know very well--he comes from my city. I've known him for many, many years--was up for ambassador to Luxembourg.

You voted against him at the time, saying, "because he engaged in a gay lifestyle."

My question to you is, would someone be denied employment by you or not be selected by you for a top position in the Justice Department if they happen to employ a gay lifestyle?

ASHCROFT: No, they would not be denied. I have never used sexual orientation as a matter of qualification or disqualification in my offices. I have had individuals whose situation became apparent to me, sometimes tragically, that worked for me, and I have not made that a criterion for employment or unemployment in my office and would not do so.

I will hire as if that is not an issue, and it is not. And whether or not the executive order would be in effect or not, that's my practice and has been in all the offices in which I have conducted myself since I got into politics, and that began in January of 1973.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you. "

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): "I do believe when you reject people because they are different, such as Ambassador Hormel, that you do raise the question of whether you can accept in your spirit, in your heart and in the practice of law, the fact that we are all created equal."

First page > Hearings Day One > Page 1, 2, 3, 4,


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