Ogden Coasts Through Confirmation Hearing
By Carrie A. Johnson
David W. Ogden, the nominee to serve as the Justice Department's second in command, this morning easily brushed aside questions from GOP lawmakers about his positions on abortion, sexually explicit images and other social issues.
Ogden, a former Justice official during the Clinton era, appears likely to win confirmation by the full Senate as early as this week.
At this morning's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ogden asserted that his first priority would be protecting national security. But he quickly added that he recognized the need to emphasize traditional law enforcement functions, including corporate fraud and civil rights, at a time when federal budgets have been squeezed.
Ogden also said he actively would seek out views from career lawyers at the department, from the FBI and from state and local authorities to prevent political hiring lapses and allegations of political interference in criminal cases similar to those that emerged during the Bush Administration.
"The greatness of the institution is its career personnel," Ogden said. "The challenges facing the department may be as great as they ever have been."
Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) called Ogden's approach to cases involving parental notification on abortion and the first amendment rights of publications such as Playboy "very left leaning and unorthodox positions." A coalition of 30 conservative social groups including Concerned Women for America wrote letters to the committee and called GOP lawmakers with complaints.
But Ogden deflected the inquiries by saying that he was "quite proud of his record" and that he was serving the interests of private clients at the time. As a government lawyer, Ogden said that he would "put the interests of the United States and the rule of law above any other" consideration.
On national security, Ogden said that he would have "objected very strongly" to certain legal opinions on harsh interrogation techniques issued during the Bush years. Under questioning from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ogden said he would have solicited more feedback from lawyers and examined legal reasoning more closely.
Web Politics Editor
February 5, 2009; 12:02 PM ET
Categories: B_Blog , Cabinet
Save & Share: Previous: Labor Department Union Objects to Obama Choice of Acting Director
Next: Solis Senate Session Postponed in Wake of Husband's Tax Lien Revelations
Posted by: scrivener50 | February 6, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ejgallagher1 | February 5, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.