10.06.2016

Former U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft Speaks to Regent School of Law Students

History has its eyes on former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.


U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft at
Regent University School of Law.
Photo courtesy of Alex Perry.
Thanks to his longstanding role as a Distinguished Professor for Regent University’s School of Law (LAW) and the Robertson School of Government (RSG), his students get a first-hand look at the laws and policies Ashcroft was instrumental in developing and, at times, challenging.

For example, on Friday, September 30, during his and Law Professor Craig Stern’s Case Studies in the Development and Implementation of National Legal Policy class, the General spoke about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and its impact on the war against terrorist groups and security of United States citizens.

In fact, Ashcroft dealt extensively with FISA while he was serving as the 79th U.S. Attorney General during President George W. Bush’s administration. At that time, a lack of communication between enforcement officials and intelligence personnel threatened the nation’s ability to defend effectively against terrorist threats. In response Ashcroft oversaw development of the Patriot Act, which provided for improved cooperation among various agencies while respecting constitutional safeguards for individual liberties and citizen privacy.

The class studied In re Sealed Case, the decision of the FISA Court of Review, which affirmed the new approach of enhanced communication between intelligence and enforcement officials. The former attorney general pointed out that the case includes a valuable tutorial on the search and seizure requirements set forth in the Fourth Amendment.

Ashcroft and Stern teach this class together, a privilege Stern does not take for granted.

“General Ashcroft is a treasure. Learning from a man of such experience, brilliance, wisdom and humility — not to mention working alongside him — is rich, eye-opening and delightful. His single-minded dedication to the Lord and His truth is especially challenging and inspiring,” said Stern. “General Ashcroft draws his approach to civil government and law from his deep understanding of fundamental biblical truth. How wonderful for Regent (and for me) to have a man like him to model faithfulness in a life of public service in the law!”

Thomas Edwards (2L) ’18 also enjoys learning from Ashcroft due to his extensive real-world experience.

“This is probably the second or third time we’ve had someone who was one step away from the president come talk to our class,” said Edwards. “It’s informative, and it’s amazing.”

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs