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Senate committee OKs nominee who has porn ties


WASHINGTON (BP)–The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday recommended deputy attorney general nominee David Ogden on a 14-5 vote, sending to the full Senate a nomination that has been criticized by conservatives because of his past representation of pornography clients.

Ogden would become the No. 2 person in the Justice Department behind Attorney General Eric Holder. Ogden told the committee during his oral and written testimony that his legal positions on controversial porn-related cases represented the views of his clients and did not reflect his personal beliefs.

Still, Ogden’s consistent pattern of representing porn clients was too much for several committee members to stomach. Five Republicans — Tom Coburn (Okla.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Charles Grassley (Iowa) — voted against him, Legal Times reported. Republican Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) voted for him as did all did all 11 Democrats on the committee.

“The pattern here is so consistent and the record is so long that it does give me pause,” Hatch said of Ogden’s representation of porn clients, according to Legal Times.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has voiced opposition to Ogden’s nomination, saying, “A person’s views on pornography are a window to a person’s worldview, and this window shows a worldview that is inconsistent with what I want the American Justice Department to be.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council urged the full Senate to vote no on Ogden’s nomination.

“David Ogden represents an extreme liberal agenda,” Perkins said in a statement. “He has a long career of advocating for the ‘right’ of individuals including pedophiles to purchase and possess child pornography. Mr. Ogden’s record makes him unfit to serve in the Justice Department which is charged with prosecuting adult and child pornography violations. All senators still have an opportunity to stand up for children and the enforcement of our pornography laws by voting no on this extreme choice by President Obama. I urge each senator, regardless of party, to take a closer look at Ogden’s radical record.”

Among Ogden’s more controversial cases he:

— filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the ACLU and two other groups in the early 1990s arguing that a child pornographer had been improperly prosecuted because the pornographer’s material did not contain fully exposed views of genitalia.

— submitted a friend-of-the court brief earlier this decade for more than a dozen library directors, urging the overturning of a law that required porn-blocking Internet filters be placed on public library computers if the libraries receive federal funds.

— represented Playboy in a mid-1980s case when it was seeking to have the Library of Congress — which had stopped such practices — translate the magazine into Braille. He also represented Playboy several years later in a lawsuit targeting Puerto Rico’s decision to remove obscene material from cable television.

— represented PHE, Inc., one of the nation’s largest distributors of hard-core pornography, in an early 1990s case.

Colin Hardacre, a Los Angeles attorney who represents porn businesses, told a porn industry news website that Ogden’s nomination “is a good sign for the adult industry.”
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Compiled by Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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