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Judiciary Delays Obscenity Hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday postponed its planned hearing on obscenity enforcement. No new hearing date was given.

Lobbyists for the porn industry had complained that they had not been invited, but the postponement was said to have been procedural, related to the lateness of comments filed.

The hearing was to have been presided over by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Brownback, who has switched from Commerce to Judiciary, has also introduced a bill upping the FCC's indecency fines.

The hearing is not on that bill, but the subject is expected to come up in conversation with a couple of constitutional scholars, who are to talk about the state's interest in regulating obscene speech and the viewing of sexually explicit material. Online porn could also be on the docket.

Some regulators critical of cable adult channels have argued that since cable is not subject to the FCC's indecency regime, the government could pursue it on obscenity grounds.