Attorney General of the United States
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The Thomson Legal Record for John Ashcroft
Providing the complete litigation record for John Ashcroft
Born: May 9, 1942, Chicago, Illinois
Occupation: United States Attorney General
Prior Public Service: United States Senator, Missouri (1995-2000); Governor, Missouri (1985-1993); Attorney General, Missouri (1976-1985); Assistant Attorney General, Missouri (1975-1976); State Auditor, Missouri (1973-1975)
Education: B.A. with honors, Yale University, 1964
J.D., University of Chicago, 1967

Jump to:  Cases Involving Ashcroft | Profile | News & Commentary
Major Cases Involving John Ashcroft:
The chart below contains a selection of some of the major cases affecting constitutional law that John Ashcroft has been involved in during his legal career..
Case Summary of Facts Case Type Result
Ashcroft v. ACLU
(U.S. Supreme Court, 2004)
(from FindLaw)
To protect minors from sexually explicit content on the Internet, Congress enacted the Child Online Protection Act. The Court rejected the arguments of the Attorney General, finding that COPA was too broad a restriction on protected speech and that the goal of protecting minors could better be achieved through blocking and filtering software. Child Online Protection Act (COPA) COPA statute violates the 1st Amendment
Georgia v. Ashcroft
(U.S. Supreme Court, 2003)
(from FindLaw)
The Court vacated the decision of a 3-judge district court panel, and found that the lower court, and thus the Attorney General, had failed to consider all relevant factors in determining whether a Georgia redistricting plan reduced black voters' ability to elect candidates of their choice in certain districts. Voting Rights Act Remanded to
District Court
Eldred v. Ashcroft
(U.S. Supreme Court, 2003)
(from FindLaw)
The Court agreed with Attorney General Ashcroft that Congress had acted within its authority when it extended the the period in which copyrighted works could be protected, and kept from the public domain. Copyright Term Extension Act Affirmed
Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft
(U.S. Supreme Court, 1983)
(from FindLaw)
As Missouri Attorney General, John Ashcroft personally argued the case before the Supreme Court in defense of a Missouri law imposing restrictions on abortion. The Court rejected Ashcroft's argument. Constitutional Law Hospitalization requirement is Unconstitutional
Liddell v. Board of Education of City of St. Louis
(U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Cir. 1981-1985)
Ashcroft, as Missouri Attorney General, resisted and appealed federal court orders requiring Missouri to pay for and implement voluntary school desegregation in St. Louis. In 1984, the federal appeals court stated that three times it had rejected the state's arguments, and that the U.S. Supreme Court twice denied the state's petitions to overturn the appeals court, then the court explained for a fourth time why it was rejecting Ashcroft's arguments. In a later ruling by the trial court, rejecting Ashcroft's attempt to reduce the civil rights plaintiffs attorney fee award because Missouri's conduct contributed to increasing the amount of attorney fees, the judge stated, "If it were not for the state of Missouri and its feckless appeals, perhaps none of us would be here today." Civil Rights Missouri must fund desegregation
Newsmaker Profile:
University of Chicago-trained lawyer John Ashcroft may best be remembered for his post-9/11 work as U.S. Attorney General. In a relatively short time, the Missouri native played a key role in implementing a new anti-terror law that remains the subject of civil liberties groups’ legal challenges, the U.S.A. Patriot Act, while prosecuting probably more terror-related cases than any other state or federal Attorney General in history.

Like most Attorneys General, Ashcroft has been a frequent litigant while in office (view Ashcroft’s Thomson Legal Record). He continues to play a lead role in the Justice Department’s transformation following 9/11, facing criticism and support. U.S. Attorneys bringing terror-related prosecutions under Ashcroft have relied upon a 1996 federal law, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 which criminalizes “providing material support or resources” to terrorist groups.

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News and Commentary:
    From FindLaw's Writ:     Political Commentary: *     News: * *Some online newsmedia, such as the New York Times and Washington post, require registration prior to providing access to articles or columns.

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