U.S. Senator Cites XBIZ Article in Attempt to Steer Questions

Feb 20, 2009 3:30 PM PST

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee has slated a Thursday vote on the nomination of David Ogden for deputy attorney general.

It was Ogden who faced intense questioning from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, earlier this month over his stance on adult entertainment industry issues.

Just days prior to his confirmation hearing, XBIZ published a story outlining his legal representation of numerous adult brands, including Playboy Enterprises and PHE Inc., parent company of Adam & Eve.

With that story in hand, Hatch peppered Ogden with statements as well as questions surrounding Ogden’s views on the adult industry and federal laws.

“Yesterday I received an article about your nomination … it appeared on XBIZ, which is the news agency for the pornography industry,” Hatch said. “It states, quote, ‘For the adult entertainment industry, the pick could constitute a strong one, considering Ogden’s record in representing companies over First Amendment rights and obscenity cases.’”

Hatch, who went on to say that Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke hailed Ogden’s nomination as “refreshing,” asked whether he would be able to uphold laws that impact the production and distribution of adult entertainment content.

In response, Ogden said he “fully intends” to enforce laws that protect children against exploitation.

“I believe child pornography [convictions] deserve the full sanction of the law,” Ogden replied.

Hatch, R-Utah, also asked Ogden about his argument in one case that federal record-keeping requirements regarding the creation of pornography were unconstitutional in how they were applied. Congress has since passed an amended form of the law.

“How can we believe that the Justice Department will enforce this law and defend its constitutionality when you have argued for 20 years that it’s unconstitutional?” Hatch asked.

Ogden said, “The Congress fixed it, and I think the law is constitutional as it stands today.”

Rather than objecting to Hatch’s and other senators’ questions, Ogden frequently thanked the senators for giving him a chance to express his own views.

“A lawyer in private practice does not sit in judgment on his clients. His job is to present their view as persuasively as possible,” Ogden said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to back Ogden’s nomination because Democrats have a three-vote margin, though Republicans could try to delay a vote one more week. A vote by the full Senate would follow.

If confirmed, Ogden will serve as the Justice Department’s chief operating officer and will be asked to resolve conflicts between U.S. attorneys over high-profile cases, including obscenity cases.

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