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Bruce Shapiro

The War on Due Process

WASHINGTON — Representative William Delahunt leaned into his microphone and looked a stone-faced Attorney General John Ashcroft in the eye. Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, spoke slowly, lest anyone think he was indulging in impulsive overstatement. “No prosecutor in modern history has been granted as much power as you now hold,”......

Alarm Addictions

Illustration by Brian Stauffer It was November 6, just after last fall’s election, and John Walters was crowing. Three ballot initiatives seeking to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in Arizona, Nevada and Ohio all went down in defeat. “These failed initiatives represent the high-water mark of the drug-legalization movement. Common sense......

The Patronage Game

The playbook of one of the 20th century‘s pre-eminent patronage hacks, George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, goes like this: “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.” It also could be the slogan of the anti-abortion right these days. The campaign to reverse abortion rights is moving fast to......

Brakes of War

Something unexpected has happened on the way to Baghdad. When Congress left for election break, relieved leaders of the House and Senate thought they had washed their hands of the troublesome Iraq debate. With overwhelming approval from both houses for President Bush‘s resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein, an......

No Secrets

THE TOP-SECRET Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is not exactly the ACLU. Meeting in a guarded, locked room on the highest floor of the Justice Department, this is a court that in 25 years has never met a wiretap it didn't like. Its judges routinely consider the most sensitive national-security questions......

Ashcroft’s Song

"THE FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY ACT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL." With just seven measured words, a New York judge last week ignited an issue that has been smoldering at the political margins. U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, a former prosecutor, thereby earned national headlines as he threw out capital charges against two......

Dirty Johnny

You have to give John Ashcroft credit: The man knows how to call a press briefing. Announcing the incarceration of Jose Padilla, a.k.a. Abdullah al Muhajir, as an ”enemy combatant,“ Ashcroft sounded like Melvin Purvis on John Dillinger. The arrest of Padilla, Ashcroft declared from Moscow, ”disrupted an unfolding terrorist......
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