Ashcroft: what conservative principles? Assisted suicide

Another state law preempted by the feds - assisted suicide in Oregon.

Extreme conservatives like limited government and state’s rights, except when those principles get in the way of ramming their morality down someone else’s throat.

So much for state reserved powers (10th Amendment) or the federal enumerated powers doctrine derived from Article I, Section 8.

Another casualty of the war on drugs. First the Fourth Amendment got shot full of exceptions, now the whole Constitution. Oh, and the war on terror. Whee.

I am sick and tired of the federal government using their strong arm tactics to get their way from the states. If I don’t like the laws of one state, I’d like the freedom to move to another state where the laws are different… instead of to another friggin country.

I am a citizen of the state of Oregon, and I resent Ashcroft’s attempts to thwart the will of the people here.

I sincerely hope that this goes to the Supreme Court and Ashcroft loses, thus setting a precedent in a victory for states rights.

That’s not extreme conservatives, that’s Republicans. You know, those that lean toward conservatism, but have to cater to the “moral majority” (sic) for political power.

Since I vehemently disagreed with you in another thread recently, I thought it only reasonable to express my full concurrence with your OP here.

—Extreme conservatives like limited government and state’s rights, except when those principles get in the way of ramming their morality down someone else’s throat.—

I think you are a little confused. Extreme conservatives are not necessarily libertarians. They may want a police state, for all you know.

To some extent, most ideologies end up being guilty of hypocrisy in practice, and when in power usually end up doing exactly the same things they lambasted their opponents for doing. But don’t assume that everyone has the SAME ideology, that Bush/Ashcroft believe in limited federal powers, just because he’s a “conservative” and some other conservatives happened to believe that.

During the 1996 election, Bob Dole ran on a platform that claimed to be about a real philosophical and political commitment to smaller government. Yet, when Dole trumpeted his greatest acheivement (his political resume), virtually every item on it increased the scope and cost of government.

Now, of course Dole might argue that these were all great and worthy acheivements that were worth the extra cost and grant of government authority: but EVERYONE thinks that their vast increases of government power, meddling, and costs are worthwhile. That’s the whole problem: when you mix up the demands of a bunch of people who each have “just a few little things the government should do, and after that, be limited and small” you end up with a big centralized government.

I agree with everyone. I tend* towards libertarianism myself. I consider myself a constitutional libertarian. Not to be confused with the party which is isolationist and against basic federal responsibilities.

The 'Pubbies have aggrivated me since 1984 (irony?, I think so) when they became more involved in religious and “moral issues” (sic).

*Until I am supposed to believe that unregulated capitalism will police itself. Har. Oh, and schools are A-OK with me. It’s hard to fight ignorance if nobody can read.

I have been getting verily sick of this as well. Doesn’t Ashcroft have some terrorism to go fight or something? It seems he’s putting an awful lot of effort into combatting something that doesn’t really seem to be his call, as well as something that he already failed to stop once.

Ashcroft is doing his job as attorney general. The controlled substances act is the law of the land. It is the duty of the executive branch to enforce the law of the land. Civil servants do not get to choose which laws they enforce and which they do not. Of course people who try to portray Ashcroft as a bogeyman seem to conveniently forget these facts in their hysterical rants.

Actually, civil servants do get to choose which laws to enforce.

Do you really think that every law on the books is enforced?

—It is the duty of the executive branch to enforce the law of the land.—

Hi-larious! You’d think the executive branch was a dead-end job, all about duitifully laying down the laws your masters in the legislature hand down to you.

But no, this is not how this, or any executive branch acts. Ashcroft most certainly is picking and choosing which laws to enforce, and doing so with regards to some sort of ideology. Look at the roster of cases that were quietly dropped during the turnover for goodness sakes.

While this is true, I think that the law of the land is more than federal statutory law. First, you have the Constitution. Traditionally, there has been some respect for the state’s rights to forge somewhat independent paths. Regarding fundamental freedoms and incorporated rights, the federal law is supreme insofar as it upholds the same. But, when states exceed the protections afforded by the Constitution, or decisions based on the Constitution, there has been deferance in the past. For example, some states protect privacy beyond the level guaranteed by the federal Constitution.

Also, a big one, what about the traditional view that police power is a reserve power (10th Amendment) of the states. If not, why even have state criminal law? Perhaps “sovereign states” should be renamed “administrative departments of the federal government.”

Not to delve too deeply into the Con. Law angle, but the drug laws have been bootstrapped through the Commerce Clause. I seriously doubt that one little line item in Article 1, Section 8 was supposed to supercede the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and all the similar deference given to the states or individuals elsewhere in the Constitution.

Not to mention the fact that there is a great big honking precedent supporting the notion that the federal government doesn’t have the power to prohibit a drug unless and until the Constitution is amended to grant such a power.

Am I the only one that remembers Bush constantly harping about supporting States Rights when he was running for the presidency?

I was not saying that I think Ashcroft is right to be more concerned about the law than his personal opinions. Like the rest of you I am sick of all of this crap about seperation of powers and the like. Ashcroft should just ignore the laws the congress has passed and just let the law be whatever he wants it to be. Also interpreting the constitution is too important a job to be left to the Supreme Court, Ashcroft is wise enough to know what is and is not constitutional without their help. I am sure the rest of you join with me in praying for the day when Ashcroft realizes the power he has and no longer lets the other branches of government tell him what to do.

Have I just been whooshed? Because I sure hope you’re kidding.

Have I just been whooshed? Because I sure hope you’re kidding.

puddleglum, while I enjoyed your sarcasm, my personal viewpoint contrasts quite starkly with yours. In my field of Indian affairs I have seen literally dozens of questionable decisions and non-decisions which indicate to me that this administration’s position is one of half-studied aloofness from laws which Ashcroft has no right not to enforce.

Here’s a brief sampling of some of the issues I’ve glossed over this morning:

  • The Departments of Justice and Interior have been silent on the recent court decision against reinterment of Captain Picard’s remains. It’s a silly case, but the United States is required by NAGPRA to act in favor of American Indians in any matter which involves the potential repatriation of remains. The case was poorly and indifferently handled by Ashcroft’s minions. By not appealing this decision, I have room to argue that the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice are choosing not to enforce the law as required by the Act.

  • When a former mining lobbyist was placed in a high position within the Department of the Interior during the transition last year, he and his associates rescinded a legal opinion which would have protected a site considered sacred by the Quechan Indian Tribe. This week DOI instead decided it’s a fine idea to have a Canadian company strip-mine the site. When questioned about this in a Senate hearing this summer, Bush administration officials had no explanation as to why the decision was made, or who made it. In spite of strong statements by Senators Dan Inouye and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the Department of Justice to date has no plans to investigate the circumstances behind the highly suspicious reversal of opinion.

At the same time, the federal government remains staunchly inflexible when it comes to leaving American Indian children behind.

  • There is a suspicious land swap being organized right now. My problem with this isn’t necessarily the good-old-boy style of the swap, which is disgusting but probably not illegal. My problem is that I can predict with near certitude that the Department of the Interior’s report to the Office of the Special Counsel will be late, incomplete, and unapologetically self-serving. I can make this prediction because this has been the modus operandi of the DOI for the past year and a half, as in the never forthcoming “we’ll get back to you on that” response given by DOI officials in the abovementioned hearing on sacred sites.

  • And while we’re at it, we might as well mention the extremely fortuitous statistics cooking for which Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton was busted last year during the ANWR debate. And the fact that she has been placed in contempt of court just this past month. Mr. Ashcroft’s wing of the Executive Branch has been reticent to discuss, much less investigate this disturbing pattern of misinformation, incompetence and quite possibly illegal actions.

Now, I’m not saying that any of the above things are overt violations of the law, without a shadow of a doubt. What I am saying is that Attorney General John Ashcroft hasn’t said a word about any of these issues. The duty of the AG is not to be liked, as Ashcroft so implicitly understands. However, one duty the Department of Justice does have is policing the Executive Branch for its own failings and violations. That is something Mr. Ashcroft is quite obviously (to me) not doing. In short, Ashcroft is definitely picking and choosing what he wishes to enforce and what he does not. He is using all of the leeway he has to further his extremely conservative agenda, and is ignoring potential legal issues which do not further that agenda or which are contrapositive to it.

A couple of weeks ago a Department of Interior official was described by a federal judge as displaying “an alarming lack of candor and com[ing] perilously close to perjury by omission.” From my point of view I find this to be the rule, not the exception, of this administration. I see no reason whatsoever to exclude Mr. Ashcroft from my overall opinion.