CC, FRC Optimistic of Gonzales as New Attorney General

Two religious conservative groups are looking forward to working White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales whom President Bush nominated to succeed John Ashcroft as Attorney General.

Bush announced Wednesday that he had chosen Gonzales as the Attorney General for his second term. Gonzales will be the first Hispanic to serve in that position if the Senate confirms him.

Ashcroft, reported to be favorite among evangelical Christians, submitted his letter of resignation to Bush on Nov. 2. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, he took a leading role in shaping U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and protect the country. Critics say his policies for terrorist infringed on the rights of the American people. But Pro-life groups commended his vigorous defense of the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Act.

“I applaud his efforts to prevent crime, vigorously enforce our civil rights laws, crack down on corporate wrongdoing, protect the rights of victims and those with disabilities, reduce crimes committed with guns and stop human trafficking,” Bush said in a written statement. “I appreciate his work to fight Internet pornography.”

The Christian Coalition congratulated Attorney General John Ashcroft in a press release for the “tremendous job” while the group’s president Roberta Combs expressed optimism toward Gonzales’ nomination.

"We look forward to Alberto Gonzales -- when he is confirmed as Attorney General -- continuing the tough policies instituted by Attorney General Ashcroft against terrorists which have protected America from another horrendous attack. We believe that the United States Senate will confirm him overwhelmingly,” Combs stated.

Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins said he hoped that as Attorney General Gonzales will be able to defend marriage and unborn life while prosecuting obscenity and judicial activism.

“A new attorney general will give fresh inspiration and leadership to the Department of Justice as it continues the important work of enforcing our nation's laws,” Perkins said.

“Family Research Council hopes to see increased attention to the issues that were on the minds of values voters a week ago when they stormed to the polls - marriage, abortion and pornography. The opponents of state marriage initiatives are now filing federal court challenges. The proponents of legal abortion have successfully challenged the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban which now heads to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said.

Gonzales has been a close confidant to the President since Bush was governor of Texas. While Bush was Texas governor, he appointed Gonzales to the state’s Supreme Court in 1999.

Despite reports saying Gonzales’ support of abortion rights and affirmative action puts him at odds with conservatives, Perkins said, “We are confident as the nation's top lawyer, Mr. Gonzales will offer a strong defense of these measures which protect marriage and the unborn."

"We also hope that he will begin a vigorous prosecution effort against obscenity," Perkins concluded. "Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Gonzales will have the opportunity to address judicial activism by shepherding the President's judicial nominees through what could be a difficult Senate Judiciary Committee if Senator Arlen Specter is elevated to the chairmanship."