Ogden Deputy AG Confirmation Goes to Full Senate

Feb 26, 2009 11:45 AM PST
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to send David W. Ogden's name to the full Senate for a confirmation vote for the position of deputy attorney general.

The panel voted 14-5 in favor of Ogden.

A Senate vote on the nomination has not yet been scheduled, but it could come within days.

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, hailed the vote Thursday afternoon.

"We are pleased that attorneys who support strong and vibrant 1st Amendment protections are being placed in positions of authority in the U.S. Government," she told XBIZ.

Ogden is a partner at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, where he has represented a number of blue-chip adult brands, including Playboy Enterprises and PHE Inc., parent company of Adam & Eve.

If confirmed by the full Senate, 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.

Ogden had previously led the department’s civil division and managed the office of then-Attorney General Janet Reno as her chief of staff.

All Democrats voted in favor of Ogden's nomination. Those opposing Ogden were Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Hatch noted he was troubled by Ogden's representation of the adult entertainment industry in private practice.

"Mr. Ogden has consistently taken very liberal positions over a long period of time on issues that are very important to me," Hatch said. "The pattern here is so consistent and the record is so long that it does give me pause."

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said the Senate Judiciary Committee had received 11,000 phone calls, letters, and other contacts opposing Ogden.

Ogden also has faced the wrath of a number of religious groups that feel his former ties to the adult industry are a bad fit as the nation’s No. 2 law enforcer.

Moments after the nomination received the green light to go to the full Senate, the Family Research Council made a statement, knocking Ogden.

"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,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

“ I urge each senator, regardless of party, to take a closer look at Ogden's radical record," he said. "We also urge President Obama to withdraw this nomination and consider a replacement whom the American people can trust to administer justice and vigorously prosecute those who violate our pornography laws."

But Ogden has received numerous letters of support, including one delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights said that Ogden would be a good fit for the job, in an agency that for the past eight years has been rocked by scandal and controversy, where “politics has trumped impartial enforcement of the law, and ideology has undermined competence.”

“The department has been disrupted in its important work by turmoil, instability, politics, massive turnover, loss of experienced staff, and a lack of confidence.”

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