[JURIST] AP is reporting that Attorney General John Ashcroft has resigned from the Bush cabinet, along with Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Ashcroft's resignation had been expected by some observers, albeit perhaps not until January. Possible successors include Senator Orrin Hatch, currently chairman of the Senate Juidiciary Committee, and Bill Pryor, the former Alabama Attorney General controversially elevated to the federal appeals bench in a recent Bush "recess appointment".
6:03 PM ET - The resignations were announced by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who indicated that the President had already accepted them. Attorney General Ashcroft's resignation was made in a five-page handwritten letter, in which he wrote that "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." AP now has more.
7:50 PM ET - President Bush has thanked both Ashcroft and Evans for their service in releases posted on the White House website. Read the release on Ashcroft and the release on Evans. Read more on Ashcroft's record from FindLaw, as well as a BBC profile. USA Today has a timeline of Ashcroft's tenure as attorney general. Law.com has more on the speculation about who will replace Ashcroft.
9:00 PM ET - MSNBC has posted photocopies and text of Ashcroft's resignation letter. In the letter, dated November 2 (last Tuesday, election day), he wrote in part:
The demands of justice are both rewarding and depleting. I take great personal satisfaction in the record which has been developed. The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved. The rule of law has been strengthened and upheld in the courts. Yet, I believe that the Department of Justice would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration. I believe that my energies and talents should be directed toward other challenging horizons. Therefore, I humbly state my desire to resign from the office of United States Attorney General.Read the full text here.