In January of 2002, then Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft, censored a pair of classic Art Deco statues located in the Great Hall of the Justice Department. I wrote about this ridiculous act of Taliban-like extremism at the time it happened. Ashcroft, a Christian fundamentalist, was made terribly uncomfortable by the statues. In order to protect western civilization from the licentiousness of worldly bound artists – America’s top law enforcement officer ordered the depraved and sinful statues covered and hidden from public view. At Ashcroft’s orders, the Justice Department permanently concealed the statues with a set of blue velvet drapes that cost American taxpayers $8,000. The 12-foot-6 aluminum figures of the Spirit of Justice and the Majesty of Law remained so covered for three and a half years.
Finally, with Ashcroft gone and Alberto R. Gonzales the new Attorney General, the drapes were quietly removed by the Justice Department on June 24th and the statues once again put on public display. While the liberation of the nude statues may sound like a victory, one shouldn’t put on dancing shoes just yet.
Mr. Gonzales in August of 2002, approved a memo to George W. Bush that stated laws prohibiting torture do “not apply to the President’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.” Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.