Porn Pause

Obscene investigations


Orrin Hatch is unhappy about the Obama administration's approach to obscenity prosecutions. In April the Utah Republican and 41 of his fellow senators sent Attorney General Eric Holder a letter urging him "vigorously to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography." 

Ten days later, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich replied with a letter suggesting that the Justice Department has different priorities. Weich wrote that "the Department has focused its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources on the most egregious cases, particularly those that facilitate child exploitation and those that involve the sexual abuse of children, including obscene depictions of child rape."

Since Hatch and company's complaint was that the administration is insufficiently interested in prosecuting people for pornography featuring adults and aimed at adults, Weich's reply amounted to a polite kiss-off. In a press release responding to Weich's letter, Hatch complained that Holder had shut down the Justice Department's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and that federal prosecutors have not initiated "a single new case since President Obama took office."