Bush, Lott, and Ashcroft: Shared Agendas Threaten Civil Rights Gains

PFAW report examines legal and judicial philosophies and Bush administration record on civil rights issues

While President George W. Bush and other Republican Party leaders have publicly distanced themselves from Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott in the wake of his praise for Strom Thurmond’s segregationist presidential campaign, there is no substantive difference between Lott and the Bush administration when it comes to current civil rights policies. A report released today by People For the American Way documents that the Bush administration and its Senate allies have in fact been aggressively promoting a legal and judicial agenda that would turn back the clock on many of the legal and social justice gains of the past five decades.

“It’s one thing to disavow legalized segregation, but it’s another thing altogether to make a commitment to supporting policies that will protect civil rights and equal opportunity,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “Maybe one reason the White House has still not publicly asked Lott to step down is that officials do not want to acknowledge that the Bush administration’s agenda and record on civil rights enforcement and protection mirrors Trent Lott’s.”

“Whether or not Lott steps down or is ousted from his leadership post,” said Neas, “the question for the Bush administration and Republican congressional leaders is whether they will continue to support efforts that undermine civil rights protections or will make a sharp departure from the policies they have been advocating until now.”

The People For the American Way report, George W. Bush, Trent Lott and John Ashcroft:Their Shared Judicial and Legal Philosophy Would Turn Back the Clock on Half a Century of Civil Rights Principles and Protections focuses on the record of the Bush administration and in particular the Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding civil rights enforcement. It examines the impact of the administration’s commitment to appointing federal judges and Supreme Court justices who share the states’ rights judicial philosophy being pushed by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

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