[JURIST] Outgoing US Attorney General John Ashcroft [official profile, JURIST Newsmakers archive] took some parting shots Tuesday at a recent Supreme Court sentencing ruling and at critics opposed to renewal of the Patriot Act. Addressing a staunchly conservative crowd at Washington's Heritage Foundation [public policy website], Ashcroft argued that the low crime rate reported in the last several years was a direct result of diligent prosecutors and stiff sentencing that had put criminals behind bars. He warned that by setting aside parts of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines [official text], the Supreme Court ruling in US v. Booker [JURIST Gazette report] had jeopardized those gains. Ashcroft also said that Congress needed to renew key provisions of the Patriot Act [PDF text, JURIST Hot Topic archive] set to lapse later this year. Ashcroft said that those provisions were vital to the continuing war on terrorism. JURIST's Monitor has recorded video of Ashcroft's address. Read the full text. CNN has additional coverage.