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Inhofe Announces Opposition to Justice Department Nominees

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today expressed his strong opposition to the nomination of David Ogden to be United States Deputy Attorney General. In a speech on the Senate Floor, Sen. Inhofe outlined his opposition, noting that David Ogden has repeatedly represented the pornography industry and its interests, and supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions. The following are excerpts of Sen. Inhofe's speech as prepared for delivery:

"Last year, Congress passed a significant piece of legislation, the Protect Our Children Act, to address the growing problem of child pornography and exploitation," Senator Inhofe said. "Both sides of the aisle hailed it as a great success. While I proudly supported that legislation, I am now alarmed that President Obama has nominated a candidate to serve in the number two post at the Department of Justice who has repeatedly represented the pornography industry and its interests. As we are witnessing a significant increase in the exploitation of children on the Internet, we need a Deputy Attorney General who will be dedicated to protecting children. David Ogden, however, has a poor record of protecting children from the exploitations of child pornography and obscenity.

"Additionally, David Ogden's failure to affirm the right to life gives me great concern. He supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions… Furthermore, as a private attorney, Ogden filed a brief in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in opposition to informing women of the emotional and psychological risks of abortion. In the brief he denied the potential mental health problems of abortion on women… We must be honest and willing to talk about the mounting evidence of the harmful physical, emotional and mental effects that abortion has on women."

Sen. Inhofe also announced his opposition to the nomination of Elan Kagan to serve as Solicitor General, as well as two other Department of Justice nominees: Dawn Johnsen and Thomas Perrelli.

"While I do not deny the experience of most of the nominees discussed today, I question their commitment to faithfully interpret and apply both the letter and spirit of the law," Senator Inhofe said. "The Department of Justice needs people who adhere to the law and not to their ideology. While I certainly oppose many of the positions taken by these nominees, I am even more concerned that their record of being ideologically-driven will weaken the integrity and neutrality of the Department of Justice."

Senator Inhofe's full remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I oppose President Obama's Department of Justice nominations which the Senate is now considering. First, I want to express my opposition to the nomination of David Ogden to be United States Deputy Attorney General. Last year, Congress passed a significant piece of legislation, the Protect Our Children Act, to address the growing problem of child pornography and exploitation. Both sides of the aisle hailed it as a great success. While I proudly supported that legislation, I am now alarmed that President Obama has nominated a candidate to serve in the number two post at the Department of Justice who has repeatedly represented the pornography industry and its interests. As we are witnessing a significant increase in the exploitation of children on the internet, we need a Deputy Attorney General who will be dedicated to protecting children. David Ogden, however, has a poor record of protecting children from the exploitations of child pornography and obscenity. In United States v. American Library Association, Ogden challenged the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000, filing a brief with the Supreme Court opposing internet filters that block pornography at public libraries. He challenged provisions of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988 which seeks to prevent the exploitation of our nation's most vulnerable population - our children - and he instead fought for the interests of the pornography industry. As a grandfather of 12 grandchildren, I am confident I stand with countless parents and grandparents around this country in opposing gross misinterpretations of our Constitution some use to justify the exploitation of women and children in the name of free speech. Some claim that Ogden is simply serving his clients, yet his extensive record of representing the interests of the pornography industry is alarming, especially considering that he has been nominated to serve in the government agency that is responsible for prosecuting violations of federal adult and child pornography laws.

Additionally, his failure to affirm the right to life gives me great concern. He supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions. In the Hartigan case, Ogden co-authored a brief arguing that parental notification was an unconstitutional burden for 14-year old girls seeking to have an abortion. In the case of abortion, parents have the right to know.

Furthermore, as a private attorney, Ogden filed a brief in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in opposition to informing women of the emotional and psychological risks of abortion. In the brief he denied the potential mental health problems of abortion on women. He wrote: "Abortion rarely causes or exacerbates psychological or emotional problems…she is more likely to experience feelings of relief and happiness, and when child-birth and child-rearing or adoption may pose concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects…" We must be honest and willing to talk about the mounting evidence of the harmful physical, emotional and mental effects that abortion has on women.

For these reasons, I simply cannot support Mr. Ogden's nomination to this important post.

Mr. President, I also want to address my opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General. Because of its great importance, the position of Solicitor General is often referred to as the "10th Supreme Court Justice," and, therefore, requires the most exemplary candidate. She served as the Dean of Harvard Law School, which is no doubt an impressive credential. However, in that role she demonstrated poor judgment on a very important issue to me. While serving as the Dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan banned the U.S. military from recruiting on campus. She and other law school officials sued to overturn the Solomon amendment, which was adopted by Congress to ensure that schools could not deny military recruiters access to college campuses. Claiming the Solomon Amendment was "immoral," she filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Rumsfeld v. F.A.I.R opposing the Amendment. The Court unanimously ruled against her position and affirmed that the Solomon Amendment was constitutional.

Finally, I would like to address my opposition to two other Department of Justice nominees: Dawn Johnsen and Thomas Perrelli. Dawn Johnsen, who has been nominated to serve as Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, has an extensive record of promoting a radical pro-abortion agenda. She has gone to great lengths to challenge pro-life provisions, including parental consent and notification laws. She has even asserted on behalf of the ACLU that, "Our position is that there is no ‘father' and no ‘child' - just a fetus." As a pro-life Senator who believes each child is the creation of a loving God, I believe life is sacred. I cannot in good conscience confirm someone who has served as the legal director for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. The right to life is undeniable, indisputable, and unequivocal. It is a foundational right - a moral fiber - fundamental to the strength and vitality of this great nation. For similar reasons, I cannot support the nomination of Thomas Perrelli to serve as Associate Attorney General. Like the other nominees I have discussed today, Mr. Perrelli has failed to affirm and protect the dignity of all human life as an advocate for euthanasia. We cannot diminish the value of any one human life without diminishing the value of all human life.

While I do not deny the experience of most of the nominees I have discussed today, I question their commitment to faithfully interpret and apply both the letter and spirit of the law. The Department of Justice needs people who adhere to the law and not to their ideology. While I certainly oppose many of the positions taken by these nominees, I am even more concerned that their record of being ideologically-driven will weaken the integrity and neutrality of the Department of Justice.


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