Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama Picks Ogden, Who Opposed Library Filters in US v. ALA, for Deputy Secretary of Justice

President Obama has nominated David Ogden for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Justice. Mr. Ogden submitted an amici curiae brief to the US Supreme Court in US v. American Library Association. That case found the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to be constitutional, but Mr. Ogden argued it was not.

According to "Obama Picks Porn Lawyer for #2 at Justice," Fidelis, 3 February 2009, emphasis added:
"President Obama has made a major mistake and put America's families at risk by selecting David Ogden to become Deputy Attorney General.... David Ogden ... can't run from his long record of opposing common sense laws protecting families, women, and children. .... Ogden's record is nothing short of obscene. .... He has opposed filters on library computers protecting children from Internet smut.... David Ogden has collected checks from Playboy and Penthouse to fight any attempts to establish filters on federally-funded public libraries.... At a time when America's families are under increasing assault, Mr. Ogden is a dangerous choice for a position whose responsibilities include the enforcement of our nation's laws."

Here is Fidelis's "Research Brief on David W. Ogden, Nominee for Deputy Attorney General," Fidelis, 3 February 2009.

In my opinion, Obama is entitled to nominate anyone he wishes, and an attorney representing the porn industry or arguing against Internet filters is doing exactly what lawyers do. Yes, it may indicate where his interests lie, but I'm just happy he was on the losing side in the CIPA case.

But what do you think?


  1. See also, "Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nominee Has Adult Ties," by Rhett Pardon,, 4 February 2009.

    Apparently, Ogden also represented the ALA in at least one obscenity case.

  2. Apparently I called this one right. Even David Ogden himself says essentially what I said:

    "I was representing a client as a lawyer in private practice," Ogden explained. "...A lawyer in private practice does not sit in judgment of his clients. His job is to present their views as persuasively and appropriately as possible."

    "The Truth-O-Meter Says: Obama Porn Lawyer Laid Bare," by, St. Petersburg Times, 6 February 2009, finding the Fidelis article "Mostly True."


    "Senate Judiciary Committee Likely to Approve Playboy's Former Lawyer as Deputy AG," by Pete Winn,, 11 February 2009. What follows are direct quotes:

    Ogden, who had filed a legal brief seeking to overturn the statute as unconstitutional, told Specter he personally believes that child pornography laws and Internet filters are not only constitutional – they are needed.

    Here's a transcript of part of their exchange:

    Sen. Arlen Specter, ranking Republican: What is your view on the propriety of Congress seeking to define obscenity and pornography – which we know what the legal definition is – and saying, at least as to minors, "You can't show it to them if you're getting federal funds in a library?"

    David W. Ogden, nominee: I think as a preliminary matter, protected materials, constitutionally protected materials, as to adults, need to be respected by the law, but Congress does have broad power to protect minors from material that is obscene as to them, the court has recognized that. And I think that power is entirely appropriate.

    A few moments later however, during questioning from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Ogden added to his answer, saying that he was only representing a client, the American Library Association, as a lawyer in private practice.

    "As the chief justice said when he was before this committee, a lawyer in private practice does not sit in judgment on his clients – his job is to present their views as persuasively and appropriately as possible," Ogden told the committee.

    Ogden said the legal briefs he filed for groups like the ALA represented their views, not his.


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