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Does Judge Kavanaugh Deserve the Presumption of Innocence?
In times of crisis it’s important to state the obvious … so here it goes. It’s not possible that Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh both told the truth, under oath, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of them lied. Which one?
Professor Ford says she’s 100 percent sure it was a drunken Brett Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted her at a high school house party 36 years ago when she was 15 and he was 17. The judge emphatically says it never happened.
The professor went first – and came off as sincere and credible. But when it was Judge Kavanaugh’s turn, he also came off as credible, and righteously indignant that he would be tarred as a sexual predator.
We may never know the truth with any certainty; there likely will always be doubt. But we can be sure of this: No matter what Judge Kavanaugh said at the hearing, no matter how convincing he may have sounded to impartial observers, he wasn’t going to get even one vote from any of the Democrats on the committee. As far as they were concerned, the judge was guilty even before the hearing began.
His real crime in their eyes wasn’t that he assaulted Ms. Ford 36 years ago, though they might believe he did. No, the judge was guilty of something equally if not more serious. His crime is that he’s a conservative judge who was appointed by President Trump – to a lifetime seat on the high court.
Democrats have long looked to the Supreme Court to validate their political views when Congress and the American people won’t. So a sixth conservative justice on the Court was something Democrats had to stop. And their leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, fearing the party’s hard left base, said as much.
“The ramifications of this battle will last a generation or more,” Schumer said in July, long before the sexual allegations surfaced. “I’m going to fight this nomination with everything I’ve got.”
Nothing that happened during the hearings mattered to the Democrats. Their only goal was to try to convince a few wavering Republicans that Judge Kavanaugh was a sexual predator and derail the nomination – or at least delay it until after the midterm elections when they might take control of the Senate and have the clout to kill the nomination once and for all.
Make no mistake, if Judge Kavanaugh, at some time in his long career, had written that he thought Roe v. Wade was a great decision, that women have a constitutional right to an abortion, that he would never undermine or overrule Roe, there would have been no hearing like the one we just witnessed.
During her testimony, Professor Ford wasn’t interrogated so much as canonized by the Democrats. One after another they told her how brave she was, how courageous, how heroic to tell her story. Several even said they believed her – before the judge even left his house.
As I say, Professor Ford came off as sincere and credible. Despite that there still are no witnesses to the alleged assault. “No one else can place the two of them together at the party — not even the witnesses she’s identified. She is inconsistent or forgetful on a number of key points. She can’t even identify who brought her to the party or who took her home,” as David French points out in National Review.
It’s possible that Ms. Ford believes she told the truth, but after so many years, for whatever reasons, got it wrong. And it’s also possible that Judge Kavanaugh is a man who gets so drunk that he forgets what he did the night before. We don’t know.
In baseball, a tie goes to the runner. In the case of a credible accuser and an equally credible accused, the tie should go to the accused, to Judge Kavanaugh in this case.
It’s called the presumption of innocence. And, despite what Democrats have been saying, that presumption is not limited to criminal defendants in a courtroom. The presumption of innocence is a universal right, a human right.
It’s a right Judge Kavanaugh deserves.