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Senate Judiciary Contemplates Obscenity

During a hearing on obscenity enforcement Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from a couple of consitutional scholars on a recent court decision exonerating producers of a pornographic movie featuring simulations of women raped and killed.

According to one committee source, the issue of cable porn could be raised as well.

The hearing will be presided over by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), a foe of cable porn and broadcast indecency, who has sponsored legislation that would call for federally funded research into the possibly addictive effects of pornography.

There is a growing sentiment in Congress that one way to ban cable porn, which is not subject to the FCC indecency restrictions, would be to go after it on obscenity grounds.

Two weeks ago, new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vowed to pursue “aggressive prosecution” of obscenity cases, which many social conservatives interpreted as a sign the Justice Department is set to expand its anti-obscenity enforcement into increasingly prevalent forms of adult entertainment, such as pay-per-view on cable and DVDs. --Bill McConnel contributed to this report.