Statement of Representative J.C. Watts, Jr. (R.-Okla.)
Chairman, House Republican Conference
Testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee on Ashcroft nomination
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Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Hatch, senators of the
Judiciary Committee, thank you for affording me the opportunity to
the nomination of Senator John Ashcroft to be attorney general of the
Let me say here
at the outset that any man or woman, Republican or
Democrat, liberal or conservative, that would sit through this process
three days and have bombs thrown at him should be confirmed for
John Ashcroft is a man of the highest integrity. I
have worked with him in the renewal alliance, putting together
targeting poor and underserved communities for homeownership, savings,
creation and capital formation. (The president signed this legislation
law about a month ago.)
campaigned with him in Saint Louis and have known him for
six years. I have never known him to be a racist nor have I ever
anything but dignity and respect for one's skin color from John
He is a man of principle. He has been scrupulously put through
inquisition of mammoth proportion and it is safe to say this committee
looked into everything dealing with the career and character of John
Ashcroft. We all know that no one is going to please all of you all of
time. But John Ashcroft takes defending and upholding the law
that is what matters most.
The responsibility of the attorney general is to defend and uphold the
not to make the law. It is the responsibility of Congress to make law.
I have watched bits and pieces of these hearings during the last two,
two-and-a-half days. I haven't watched all of them - believe it or
Little League, soccer and junior varsity basketball games go on in
these very important hearings.
There is not a lot I can say today that hasn't already been said
these proceedings. However, I will say I am delighted that outside
aren't making the determination on Senator Ashcroft. I heard Senator
say yesterday that he did not trust many of the interest groups.
Biden, I agree with you. Neither do I. I have been blind-sided by them
before and so many of these groups totally disregard facts. Not only
want their own opinion, they want their own facts. So, Senator Biden,
relate to what you said yesterday.
I am delighted that people who know Senator Ashcroft best will make
on his confirmation, and in your deliberations I would ask you to
his qualities, his qualifications and his integrity.
Last Monday, after observing Doctor King's birthday, my
daughter and I were watching the Disney movie, "The Fox and the
watched the movie for about an hour - and then the movie watched me as
went to sleep on it. However, I've seen it twenty-three times.
This is a
The story is: Copper (Hound Puppy) and Tod (the orphaned Fox) became
best of friends. 'Did everything together. They laughed and played
to no end. Then one day Copper (Hound) and Tod (the Fox) were grown
wanted to get together with old Copper and Copper's heart missed a
having to tell Tod, "I can't play with you anymore, I'm a hunting
In other words, I can't be your friend anymore. Forget we were the
friends. Forget we laughed together and played together. Forget all
great times together and all those other things.
Well, members of the committee, I'm not saying John Ashcroft has been
friends with all of you, however, over the last six years you have
heart. You know he is not a racist, as some would suggest.
Yes, you know that just like Senator Lieberman, John Ashcroft's faith
important to him. They both never want their faith to be offensive to
anyone, yet they never apologize for it.
You have observed Senator Ashcroft to be a man of compassion, strength
He is extremely qualified to be the next attorney general of the
nation in the world.
Obviously, this decision will rest with the Senate, but I encourage
support for John Ashcroft as the next attorney general to uphold the
and the Constitution of the United States, so help him God.