Monday, December 8, 2008

Whither Obscenity Enforcement?

We can expect the Obama administration to make a clear and positive break on a number of issues covered here. For example, the new administration is expected to favor comprehensive sex education and undo the reviled "Global Gag Rule." But what about the Bush Administration's obscenity crusade? Can we expect that, simply because Obama is a Democrat and has voiced progressive positions on most social issues that his Justice Department will turn away from systematic obscenity prosecutions?

That's less clear, for a number of reasons. Obama has never spoken to the issue, so far as I'm aware. He and AG pick Eric Holder can certainly guide DOJ priorities, but ultimately federal prosecutors have considerable discretion to enforce the laws on the books. Additionally, Holder has in the past made noises favoring robust obscenity enforcement. For a discussion from the adult industry perspective, see this column by Mark Kernes over at AVN.

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