Attorney General John Ashcroft, among the most polarizing figures in the Bush administration, submitted his resignation on election night. The five-page note, disclosed Tuesday, called the job “both rewarding and depleting.” Larry Thompson, a former assistant to Ashcroft, is considered the likely replacement, reports the New York Times.
Ashcroft, 62, had served as attorney general and U.S. senator in his home state of Missouri. In an analysis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “When it comes to assessing John Ashcroft’s four-year tenure as attorney general, don’t look for shades of gray.” A longtime aide, David Israelite, called Ashcroft “one of the most powerful, effectual and consequential attorneys general in history.” But a leader of the People for the American Way called him “one of the most destructive attorneys general of the modern era.” An ACLU critic said Ashcroft was “one of the most divisive forces in the entire Bush administration. Mr. Ashcroft’s legacy has been an open hostility to protecting civil liberties and an outright disdain for those who dare to question his policies.”