FRC Announces Its Ogden Test

Yesterday Greg Sargent reported that the Family Research Council had sent a letter to Republican Senators warning that it would be watching their votes on several of Barack Obama’s Justice Department nominees, especially that of David Ogden to be Deputy Attorney General, and using the vote in their annual “scorecard.”

Today, just to make sure that everyone got the message, FRC issued a press release containing the same warning:

“Clearly, David Ogden represents a profound threat to American families. So, for the first time ever, FRC Action will score a vote against a nomination. We will include the vote on David Ogden’s nomination in our annual Vote Scorecard which tracks votes in Congress critical to the family. We will make every effort to inform the American people how each of their two Senators voted on this far left nomination.

“The American people deserve a Justice Department that will aggressively prosecute those who violate our laws, not someone who has sought to defend and justify some of the most despicable people in our country. I urge all senators to vote no on David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General of the United States.”

As FRC says, it has never used a nomination vote on its scorecard before, but apparently Ogden is just so far beyond the pale that they simply must make opposing him a test of the GOP’s fealty to their right-wing agenda.

Just who were those “despicable people” that Odgen represented?  As we noted in a recent RWW In Focus:

To summarize, the Right says David Ogden is a hard-left pro-gay, pro-choice extremist bent on promoting pornography, enabling the exploitation of women and children, and subverting the Constitution to judges’ personal whims and to international law.

Many of those attacks are based on his record as a private attorney, where he represented such “extremist” organizations as the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and, yes, Playboy, which is what led a hyperventilating pundit to cry, “Has the Playboy flag really displaced the Stars and Stripes over Washington?”  As Ogden has explained, in those cases he was a lawyer representing his clients and their interests in preserving the First Amendment. He never, in spite of the Right’s claims, argued that obscene materials or child pornography should go unregulated or unpunished. In fact, Ogden served in the Justice Department as Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division and Associate Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff and Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno. While at Justice he led the government’s defense of anti-pornography laws whose constitutionality was being challenged in the courts. 

Among the hard-left radicals who have endorsed Ogden’s nomination:

    * National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    * National District Attorneys Association
    * Fraternal Order of Police
    * National Association of Police Officers
    * National Sherriff’s Association
    * Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association
    * and at least 15 Justice Department and other legal officials from the Reagan, Bush, and Bush administration

I can see why he is such a danger.  Of course, as we pointed out, the Right’s threats and outrage over these DOJ nominees is less about actually stopping any of these nominees and more about getting right-wing activists, pundits, and lawmakers warmed up for similar attacks on eventual Obama nominees to the federal judiciary, and in particular to the U.S. Supreme Court.