When I asked (as nicely as I could) if the decisions were being made by others and only rubber-stamped by the Attorney General, he very carefully (and quite nicely) pointed out that Ashcroft is "a very demanding and thorough official who requests full information before making decisions."
He added that Ashcroft was the governor who had to reinstate the death penalty in Missouri after the Supreme Court had ruled it unconstitutional, and that he therefore takes it very seriously.
Nothing More ... Nothing Less
Please do not forget that, despite what the most elite journalists insist on repeating, President Clinton's final infamous clemency grants on Jan. 20 amounted to a total of 177, not 176.
There were 141 pardons and 36 commutations. Do not accept less!
Beverley Lumpkin has covered the Justice Department for 15 years for ABCNEWS. Halls of Justice appears every Friday.