Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gonzales goes a-courtin'?

The other day, my friend Johnny sent me an item that linked to a Washington Post article, "Recruits Sought for Porn Squad", by Barton Gellman:
Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales...
The article starts by leaning more toward how agents are laughing down their sleeves in derision and/or exasperation at the idea of diverting resources from terrorism to the persecution of pornography featuring consenting adults, which the FBI memo admits tends to "encounter many legal issues, including First Amendment claims," according to the Post.

What interests me more in the article is the revival of Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese's crusade:
But Gonzales endorses the rationale of predecessor Meese: that adult pornography is a threat to families and children. Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called "a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general."
When Gonzales' name was floated as a possible nominee for O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court, social conservative groups were unhappy with his borderline stance on issues like abortion. Really, really unhappy:
Gonzales is considered suspect by pro-life forces and has a thin, hard-to-pin-down track record as a Texas judge. In fact, he is the only A-list contender whom religious conservatives pledge, upfront, to fight. "We'd oppose him," said Tom Minnery of Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family. ("The Holy War begins", by Howard Fineman and Debra Rosenberg, Newsweek)
(See also "Conservatives: No to Gonzales", by John Gizzi, and "Again, Right voices concerns about Gonzales", by Thomas B. Edsall and Michael A. Fletcher.)

So now pornography between consenting adults, and its distribution, is a matter of concern for Gonzales. A political move positioning him for a second chance at O'Connor's seat? It also seems a bit convenient to be taking the lead of former Attorney General Edwin Meese: see his report and reactions to it. Current position of Edwin Meese: one of the "four horsemen" who advise Bush on federal judiciary nominees. Guess who else say on that commission? James Dobson, currently of Focus on the Family. Coincidence?