Ogden Confirmed as Deputy Attorney General

Mar 12, 2009 11:15 AM PST
WASHINGTON — David Ogden was confirmed today as deputy attorney general, despite the fact that numerous conservatives opposed him because he has represented defendants in adult entertainment cases.

A full senate panel voted 65-28 in favor of Ogden.

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, was pleased with the outcome.

"The Senate confirmed a man who respects and upholds the Constitution to the No. 2 position in the Department of Justice," Duke told XBIZ. "Today is a good day for all U.S. citizens."

The nomination by President Barack Obama to be Attorney General Eric Holder's second in command sparked an angry Senate debate over Ogden's legal career.

Senators debated six hours on Wednesday and Democrats used procedural rules to force a vote on Ogden’s nomination, following threats of a Republican filibuster.

During his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Ogden sought to reassure senators that he would prosecute child pornographers aggressively, and he urged the lawmakers not to judge him by arguments he made on behalf of his past clients.

"Child pornography is abhorrent," Ogden said, adding later, "Issues of children and families have always been of great importance to me.

“I vigorously defended the constitutionality of child pornography statutes during my tenure as assistant attorney general for the civil division.”

Prior to today’s full senate vote, Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, dismissed attacks by conservatives.

“David Ogden is an immensely qualified nominee whose priorities will be the safety and security of the American people and reinvigorating the traditional work of the Justice Department in protecting the rights of Americans,” he said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the criticisms of Ogden — including that he would not strictly enforce child porn laws — are unfounded.

“It’s an appalling statement,” he said. “The major organizations that are concerned about the welfare of our children in this country support David Ogden.”

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.

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.

Holder will swear in Ogden and Thomas Perelli, the new associate attorney general, on Friday at 9:30 a.m. (EDT).

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