Conservatives Pummel Holder as Soft on Porn
But Justice Department says obscenity better tackled at other levels
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2011 9:42 AM CDT
Attorney General Eric Holder is taking heat from conservatives over closing a Bush-era anti-pornography task force.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department is shutting down the Bush-era Obscenity Protection Task Force, reports Politico, and critics are bashing AG Eric Holder for not being tougher on porn and smut. "As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight," complained Sen. Orrin Hatch in a statement. But Justice officials demur, saying prosecutions are better handled by US Attorneys' offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

Obscenity prosecutions have largely twisted in the political wind, picking up under Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, and waning under George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. But some question how relevant an '80s-style anti-porn crusade is in the Internet age, when the line between the sex industry and the mainstream has blurred so much. "It just seems like, finally, the Department of Justice has caught up with the rest of the nation," says a spokeswoman for the adult entertainment industry.