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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I have been watching the nominations from President Obama with quite a bit of concern. When I go back to my State of Oklahoma, people say: What would happen to us if we didn't pay our taxes? And I thought it couldn't get much worse than that.

I am here today to make sure everyone focuses attention on a couple of nominations that I think are outrageous.

First is my opposition to the nomination of David Ogden to be the U.S. Deputy Attorney General. Last year, Congress passed a significant piece of legislation, the Protect Our Children Act, to address a growing problem of child pornography and exploitation. Both sides of the aisle hailed it as a great success. Democrats and Republicans thought that was great; we are going to protect our kids against child pornography and exploitation. While I proudly supported that legislation, I am shocked President Obama has nominated a candidate to serve in the No. 2 position in 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 do not need a Deputy Attorney General who will be dedicated to protecting children with that kind of a background. David Ogden has represented the pornography industry for a long period of time.

In United States v. American Library Association, Ogden challenged the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000. I remember that well. We passed it here. He filed 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; that is, our children. He instead fought for the interests of the pornography industry.

As a grandfather of 12 grandchildren, I am confident that I stand with virtually all of the 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. That is what was happening. That is David Ogden.

Some claim Ogden is simply serving his clients. Yet his extensive record in representing the pornography industry is pretty shocking, especially considering he has been nominated to serve in the Government agency that is responsible for prosecuting violations of Federal adult and children pornography laws.

Let's keep in mind, he is in the position of prosecuting the offenders of these laws, and yet he has spent his career representing the pornography industry.

Additionally, his failure to affirm the right to life gives me a great concern. I don't think that is uncharacteristic of most of the nominees of this President. No one is pro-life that I know of, that I have seen.

In the Hartigan case, Ogden coauthored a brief arguing that parental notification was an unconstitutional burden for a 14-year-old girl 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. This is what he wrote. The occupier of the chair is a woman. I think it is interesting when men are making their interpretation as to what feelings women have.

He wrote this. Again, this is the same person we are talking about, David Ogden. He said:

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 ..... risks or adverse psychological effects .....

What he is saying is it is a relief. This is something he finds not offensive at all. He is actually promoting abortions.

We have to be honest. We need to talk about the mounting evidence of harmful physical and emotional effects that abortion has on women.

For these reasons, I oppose his nomination.

I also want to address my opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General. Because of its great importance, quite often they talk about the Solicitor General as the tenth Supreme Court Justice and, therefore, it requires a 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 military from recruiting on campus. We have to stop and remember what happened in this case. In order to protect the rights of people to recruit--we are talking about the military now--on campuses to present their case--nothing mandatory, just having an option for the young students--Jerry Solomon--at that time I was serving in the House of Representatives with him--had an amendment that ensured 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. FAIR opposing the amendment. The Court unanimously ruled against her position and affirmed that the Solomon amendment was constitutional.

It is interesting, for a split division it might be different. This is unanimous on a diverse Court.

I also express my opposition to two other Department of Justice nominees--Dawn Johnsen and Thomas Pirelli. Dawn Johnson, 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 inserted 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 anyone 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 a similar reason I can't support the nomination of Thomas Perrelli to serve as Associate Attorney General. Keep in mind now, we are talking about the four top positions in the Justice Department. And like 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, and I think we know the background of that.

I would only repeat that these are not people with just an opinion, they are extremists. We are talking about someone in the No. 2 position of the Department of Justice who actually has been involved in representing the pornography industry, and this is something that is totally unacceptable.

I think as we look at these nominations, I suggest that those individuals who are supporting these look very carefully, because people are going to ask you the question: How do you justify putting someone who supports pornography, who has worked for it and been paid by that industry, in the No. 2 position in the Justice Department?

With that, Madam President, I yield the floor.


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