Robert Knight: Obama's porn king at Justice

This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Times on March 18, 2009.

Under President Obama, it was expected that porn pushers might find a sympathetic ear, given the smut industry’s generous support of liberal politicians and causes.

But the fox is no longer circling the henhouse. He’s made it inside. On March 12, the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” the U.S. Senate, voted 65 to 28 to elevate porn attorney David Ogden to be deputy attorney general.

Eleven senators from the “Party of Family Values” (Lamar Alexander, Kit Bond, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Judd Gregg, Jon Kyl, Richard Lugar, presidential nominee John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter and George Voinovich) joined a nearly unanimous Democrat roster (minus Robert Casey of Pennsylvania) in deciding that a man who defended child pornography during the Clinton years, as well as hard-core porn producers, plus Playboy and Penthouse, is suited to be the No. 2 law enforcer in the nation.

The Senate also voted 70 to 20 to confirm Thomas Perelli as associate attorney general, the No. 3 Justice post. Mr. Perelli represented Michael Schiavo, who had remarried and had his brain-damaged ex-wife Terri Schiavo taken off life support against the wishes of her parents and brother.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, who spoke on his behalf, said Mr. Ogden’s legal work on behalf of the smut industry was just a “sliver” of his record and in any case did not reflect his “personal” views or values. Would lawyers working for corporate polluters or pro-life groups get that kind of pass?

Mr. Ogden’s elevation marks a major victory for pornographers, the abortion industry and the homosexual movement, among others. It’s hard to imagine a more radical nominee in terms of legal social engineering.

On Nov. 4, 1993, in a vote of 100 to 0, the U.S. Senate passed a nonbinding resolution censuring the Justice Department for refusing to defend the conviction of a child pornographer. In that case, Knox v. United States, Mr. Ogden had filed a friend of the court brief for the American Civil Liberties Union that argued that close-ups of children’s crotches in videos such as “Little Girl Bottoms (Underside)” and “Little Blondes” were not child pornography and thus merited constitutional protection. A week later, President Clinton issued a letter rebuking Attorney General Janet Reno and asking for tougher child pornography enforcement. A few months later, the House added its censure by a vote of 425 to 3.

If this had been an isolated incident that Mr. Ogden now regrets, that would be one thing, but he has a long track record of siding with radical proponents of the sexual revolution.

Brian Burch, president of the Catholic-based public policy group Fidelis, has authored a memo outlining Mr. Ogden’s extensive career issuing briefs on behalf of pornographers, abortionists and homosexual pressure groups, among others. Here are a few of Mr. Ogden’s activities:

– Opposed the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000. Mr. Ogden filed an amicus brief arguing against Congress requiring public libraries that accept tax funding to install Internet filters, even on computers in the children’s areas.

– Challenged the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988. Specifically, Mr. Ogden’s brief on behalf of porn producers argued that requiring them to verify that performers were at least 18 years of age would “burden too heavily and infringe too deeply” on their First Amendment rights.

– Represented Playboy Enterprises in a 1986 suit that forced the Library of Congress to print Playboy magazine’s articles in Braille, an outcome Mr. Ogden said was a key victory in “turning the tide in the censorship battle.” He also sought an injunction against including Playboy in a list of porn magazines to be part of the Meese Commission report (1990).

– Filed numerous briefs in other pornography and obscenity cases before the Supreme Court.

– Opposed parental notification for minors undergoing abortions (1987).

– Opposed virtually all restrictions on abortions, from spousal notification to mandatory, 24-hour delays, in a brief for Planned Parenthood filed in the landmark Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992).

– Characterized peaceful pro-life abortion protesters as the moral equivalent of mobsters by arguing they come under the RICO organized crime statute (Sheidler v. National Organization for Women (2003).

– Declared that “homosexuality is a normal form of human sexuality” as counsel for the American Psychological Association in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the Supreme Court struck down the Texas sodomy law. That profoundly bold judicial power grab has been the linchpin for further gay rights advances, including state court rulings striking down marriage laws in Massachusetts, California and Connecticut.

– Sought to overturn the military’s policy on service by open homosexuals (Watkins v. United States Army (1989), arguing that sexual preference (sexual orientation) is the equivalent of race.

There’s more. Mr. Ogden has backed the intrusion of international law into American courts, the “right” of protesters to trespass on private property, the use of “compassion” to override “precedent and logic,” and he has filed several briefs seeking to limit enforcement of the death penalty. His briefs are littered with junk science that was specifically designed to undermine cultural norms.

As deputy attorney general, Mr. Ogden will be sworn to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States. That will be a tall order for someone who has spent years inventing novel legal arguments in pursuit of a far-left social agenda.

2009-03-19T11:41:07+00:00Categories: OPED|