The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Ashcroft's crusade has set sail

When it comes to smiting smut, compared with Missouri's finest, 'Sonny Boy' Powell is a pussy. As it were.

A useful 1,800 word (size matters!) effort from the Baltimore Sun's Laura Sullivan (April 6) shows a Justice Department on the warpath, feathers a-flying.

The back story is (more or less) that Ashcroft talked a good game when he came in: the lax, Reno days - when regular porn was left alone - were over. Kyle's Moms of America, Inc were ecstatic to the point of excess moisture - but he failed to deliver [1] - leaving a key segment of the base not energised but pissed off. Then, in 2002, he makes the big speech, gets in a new porn chief - Drew Oosterbaan - to organize things at Justice - and now we see the fruits.

The intention is to go, not just for the hardest of the hard - the Extreme Associates end of the market - but for the softest they can get away with, including
soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains.

The Justice technique is to fix the venue of the trial in the most Podunk location they can find, so as to use the locals' bigoted community standards in judging the case.

Unfortunately for the Comstocks, that will only serve to put the whole Miller notion of community standards in play [2] - to which one can only echo the Commander-in-Chief: bring it on!

There is also the little angle of The business of America is business. Comcast, which knocks out hard-core cable movies at twelve bucks a pop (er...) has a President who is a big BC donor.

All told, it's a good time to be a First Amendment lawyer...

[Link via Jeff Jarvis]

  1. I thought I'd mentioned - but can't find - Solicitor-General Theodore Olsen, Milquetoast of Michigan, being bated in the Ashcroft v ACLU oral argument for the tiny number of regular porn prosecutions his department had undertaking under Ashcroft - the transcript here, case 03-218.

  2. The porn-meisters are supposedly arguing that material ordered over the net should be subject to a national community standard!

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