Christian and Secular Right Wing Groups Claw Away at Obama’s Pick for Deputy Attorney General

In its Action Alert dated February 4, headlined “Obama nominates pro-p*rn, pro-abortion lawyer for the number 2 position in the office of the Attorney General,” the American Family Association’s Donald Wildmon writes: “President Obama has nominated David Ogden to be the second person in command in the U.S. office of the Attorney General! Ogden must be confirmed by the Senate. Call your two senators and tell them to vote against the Ogden nomination. Ogden is no friend of the family.” WorldNetDaily headlined its story on Ogden, “Obama’s Justice pick supports porn ‘rights’.”

While former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Obama’s would-be chief performance officer Nancy Killefer were forced to resign after it came to light that the former had failed to pay $146,000 in taxes on time and the latter had failed to make quarterly unemployment tax payments to the District of Columbia for a year and a half, if conservatives have their way, David Ogden, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, who goes before the Judiciary Committee on February 5, may very well wish that he had resigned.

OneNewsNow, the news service of the American Family Association, is reporting that both Christian and secular conservatives are mobilizing to put the kibosh on the nomination of David W. Ogden, President Barack Obama’s pick for deputy attorney general. It appears that a number of right-wing groups are attacking Ogden’s nomination on several fronts.

According to the news service, Heritage Foundation fellow Steven Groves “is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask … Ogden some pointed questions [tomorrow] regarding his views on constitutional interpretation.”

“In the 2005 case Roper v. Simmons, Ogden succeeded in convincing a narrowly divided Supreme Court to declare the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional and spare the life of his client, who killed a woman in cold-blood nine months before he turned 18,” OneNewsNow is reporting.

“Groves says Ogden argued that the high court should look to laws, legal opinions, and decisions of foreign countries and international organizations regarding the death penalty. He notes that in particular, Ogden cited the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) — a 1989 treaty that bars the execution of people who commit crimes while under the age of 18.”

OneNewsNow
also reported that “Social conservatives are also expressing concern about an amicus brief Ogden filed in the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which he claimed that ‘abortion rarely causes or exacerbates psychological or emotional problems.’ In addition, other conservatives are uneasy with Ogden’s past legal representation of Playboy, Penthouse magazine, the ACLU, and the largest distributor of hard-core pornographic movies.”

The Alliance Defense Fund’s Pat Trueman told OneNewsNow that “The reason David Ogden is going to be trouble is that he is a pornography lawyer [who was] prominently involved in the Playboy cases representing Playboy, Penthouse, other cases. [And] he has fought against keeping public libraries free of pornography to protect children.”

Fidelis, a conservative Catholic group, continues the ‘porn lawyer’ theme on its Web site, featuring a story titled “An Obscene Choice: Obama Taps Porn Lawyer For #2 At Justice.” The group’s “Research Brief” maintains that “As an attorney in private practice, … Ogden has filed briefs pushing for gays in the military, for continued racial preferences, and for a virtually unlimited abortion license. He has negotiated numerous obscenity and pornography cases on behalf of clients like Playboy, Penthouse, and the ACLU.”

The “Research Brief” prepared by Fidelis, points out that Ogden was a “top aide” to President Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno, and was “leader of the Department’s tobacco litigation team.”

Ogden also “filed briefs opposing parental notification before a minor’s abortion, opposing spousal notification before an abortion, opposing the military’s policy against public homosexuals serving in uniform, and opposing the Children’s Internet Protection Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.”

Fidelis received a fair amount of publicity recently when its anti-abortion ad — co-sponsored by a group called CatholicVote.com, a project of the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy — was turned down by NBC for airing during the Super Bowl. According to LifeSiteNews.com, the ad that “centers around the theme: ‘Life: Imagine the Potential,’” ran on EWTN Global Catholic Network on Super Bowl Sunday.

The ad, according to LifeSiteNews.com, “shows an ultrasound of an unborn child, and then the words: ‘This child’s future is a broken home. He will be abandoned by his father, his single mother will struggle to raise him. Despite the hardships he will endure. This child will become the 1st African-American president. Life, imagine the potential.’”

Fidelis’ CatholicVote.com also ran an ad that aired repeatedly on January 20 on Black Entertainment Television in Chicago during coverage of the presidential inauguration. According to the group’s press release, “The :30 spot is the first in a series of ads to be released this year as a part of a new educational campaign titled Life: Imagine the Potential.”

“Our message is simple: Abortion is the enemy of hope. The purpose of our new ad is to spread a message of hope about the potential of every human life, including the life of President-elect Obama,” said Brian Burch, Executive Director of CatholicVote.org.

According to the Alliance defense fund’s Pat Trueman, Ogden also is strongly pro-homosexual and pro-abortion. “I think that you have a man here who is going to be trouble from day one to the end of his term — but there’s still time to defeat him,” he told OneNewsNow.

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column, "Conservative Watch," documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right. Read other articles by Bill, or visit Bill's website.