Republicans are back in power (well, partly) and so of course it's time for all the conservative religious and religious conservative groups to begin beating the drum for more obscenity prosecutions—never mind that the government's last attempt to do so met with less-than-sterling results.
Even as rumors have been flying around First Amendment legal circles for weeks that Attorney General Eric Holder has abolished the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force—it was one of four main topics discussed at the recent legal seminar at the XbizLA conference—and even as the two Task Force attorneys assigned to prosecute John Stagliano—Pamela Stever Satterfield and Bonnie Hannum—appear to have left the unit, former DOJ prosecutor Patrick Trueman, recently tapped to become CEO of Morality In Media, orchestrated letters to be sent to both Holder and several well-known anti-porn senators calling for stepped-up scrutiny of sexual commerce.
The "bipartisan" letters, one from Reps. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), a well-known anti-porn activist, and "Blue Dog" Mike McIntyre (D-NC)—he voted against TARP, healthcare reform; was the only Democrat to vote against repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell"; and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act—and the other from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who unfailingly questions and browbeats judicial nominees regarding their views on porn, push the lie that "research continues to show that hardcore adult pornography is increasingly harmful, addictive ... and linked to other crimes such as domestic violence and sex trafficking."
Hatch's letter urges his fellow senators (and possibly House members as well) to sign onto a letter, likely written by Trueman, urging the Justice Department to "vigorously... enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography," reminding Holder that in 1998, as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he authored a memo to all of the U.S. attorneys around the country urging them to give prosecutorial priority to "large-scale [adult video] distributors who realize substantial income from multistate operations and cases in which there is evidence of organized crime involvement."