Jul 19, 2010 So much for Obama and change, as he continues pursuing obscenity prosecutions
When Barack Obama ran for president, I predicted that despite his overgeneralized talk of change that I would be no more satisfied with him than with Bill Clinton, with whom I was only moderately satisfied.
On the obscenity prosecution front, it turns out that Barack Obama’s administration continues pursuing obscenity prosecutions, whereas Bill Clinton’s administration apparently instituted few if any new obscenity prosecutions.
Why does Obama pursue obscenity prosecutions? Because he is truly committed to such prosecutions? Because he wishes to appease voters for upcoming Congressional elections and for his own re-election campaign? Because he has abdicated such prosecution decisions to Attorney General Holder and United States Attorneys (which is doubtful)?
The Supreme Court’s Miller obscenity doctrine requires that, inter alia, the jury determine "whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, and (3) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973). If one self-censors to avoid the personal and financial cost of defending against an obscenity prosecution, the First Amendment is dishonored and battered. If one does not self-censor and is prosecuted for obscenity, the First Amendment also is dishonored and battered.
If Obama is not going to do anything to stop obscenity prosecutions, at least last Friday’s ruling by D.C. federal trial Judge Richard J. Leon may slow the federal obscenity prosecution boat in granting the acquittal motion in the obscenity prosecution against Evil Angel and John Stagliano (whose stagename is Buttman). Mark Kernes of Adult Video News was at the trial, and extensively details the dismissal. The Washington Post’s article on the dismissal is here.