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Obama Justice Nominee Used to Represent Playboy

Senators might want to hold David Ogden's confirmation hearing after the kids go to bed. 

That's because the man in line to become No. 2 at the nation's top law enforcement agency was once a strident defender of Playboy and other purveyors of nudity. 

And some critics are drawing attention to his risque legal work ahead of his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. In one case, Ogden paved the way for the blind to enjoy Playboy at the Library of Congress

"There's essentially a question of propriety," said Brian Burch, president of the religious conservative group, Fidelis -- which released a critical report on Ogden's past representation. Burch co-signed a letter this week to committee members raising flags about Ogden, up for deputy attorney general, and other nominees. 

At a time when Congress is engrossed in a debate over stimulus, Fidelis argues Ogden was engaged in the wrong kind. 

One of Ogden's triumphs came in 1986, when he argued against the Library of Congress' decision to stop publishing Braille editions of Playboy magazine. 

He won, on behalf of the the American Council for the Blind, Playboy and other plaintiffs. 

Afterward he was quoted as saying he hopes the decision doesn't create a burden but "that's the price of violating people's First Amendment rights." 

Ogden also represented Playboy two decades ago in pushing for the federal court to stop then-Attorney General Edwin Meese from releasing a "black list" of distributors of allegedly pornographic content. He won that as well. 

Ogden frequently represented clients, not all of them nudie-magazines, who challenged what they saw as censorship and unconstitutional restrictions. 

For instance, he once filed a brief on behalf of a group of library directors arguing against the Children's Internet Protection Act. The act ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. But Ogden's brief argued that the act impaired the ability of librarians to do their jobs. He called it "unconstitutional," though the Supreme Court later disagreed with him and upheld the act. 

And he argued, on behalf of several media groups, against a child pornography law that required publishers of all kinds to verify and document the age of their models (which would ensure the models are at least 18). The provisions were struck down. 

Ogden was quoted at the time saying the potential reach of the law was "mind-boggling" and even "terrifying." 

Burch said Ogden's legal work does not disqualify him for the job of deputy attorney general. But he still said the Senate should vote against him. 

The opposition might not gain much traction. The Senate Judiciary Committee has so far received a slew of letters voicing support for Ogden, who has held several positions in the Justice Department already. 

The National District Attorneys Association wrote that Ogden has an "institutional perspective" of the agency and is an impressive candidate. 

Former Sen. John Warner is expected to introduce Ogden on Thursday. 

"Mr. Ogden's impressive career as a litigator, leader of the legal community and great public servant will serve the Justice Department, law enforcement and America's families well," wrote the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

That, despite his past arguments against child protection laws.

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