June 16, 2010
As Carrie Russell notes below, Pat Trueman (pornharms.com), a former federal obscenity prosecutor, led an important briefing in the Capitol Visitor's Center today that was open to the public. Extended segments of the event will be posted on the PornHarms website, but here were the main points of the event. First, hard core pornography - "obscenity" in legal parlance - is not protected speech under the First Amendment. As such, distribution of obscene materials can be federally prosecuted without constitutional difficulty. Second, for roughly 17 years the Department of Justice has only been selectively prosecuting obscenity. Thus, the proliferation of these materials all across society has proceeded with little hindrance. Third, the public and members of Congress need to demand that the Department of Justice prosecute adult obscenity. Fourth, obscenity damages the human psyche -- as Prof. Mary Anne Leyden of the Univ. of Pennsylvania and several other experts discussed. Thanks to Pat Trueman for a career of public service and for bringing DoJ's poor performance to the attention of the public and the Congress.