Over the past few weeks, we Americans have been inundated with the ongoing confirmation process of our most recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Unless you have no access to a smartphone, a television, a radio or if your friends and family simply choose not to discuss current events, you have, no doubt, heard about this process.
Pretty ugly! That perhaps may be one of the nicer ways of describing the goings on.
But for those who still may be in the dark, here is a a brief overview of Judge Kavanaugh and a quick synopsis of these circumstances.
After the retirement announcement this past June of former Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy, President Trump drew from a list of potential nominees for his replacement, eventually selecting Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for the past twelve years.
Prior to this, Judge Kavanaugh served in the Office of Independent Counsel and later worked in the White House for the President George W. Bush Administration. He graduated from Yale University and later clerked for Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. On top of this, Judge Kavanaugh has been married to his wife, Ashley, since 2004 and together have two daughters.
Clearly, he has had an exemplary career, having gained the respect and admiration of the hundreds of people he’s worked with and the students he has taught.
Throughout the nomination process, at no time did anyone raise concerns of serious wrongdoing or judicial blemishes of any kind. In fact, throughout his entire professional career, nobody has ever even once suggested inappropriate behavior or comments from Judge Kavanaugh. That is, until just a few short weeks ago.
It is reported that this past July, a California university professor sent a letter to that state’s senior Senator. In the letter, this professor expressed her serious concerns that Judge Kavanaugh should be disqualified because of her allegations that he sexually assaulted her at a party thirty-six years ago during their high school years.
Very serious allegations! But instead of informing anyone of these allegations, the Senator from California said nothing. She kept it silent from the majority party Senators who could have ordered an immediate investigation by the FBI and get to the bottom of this. In fact, one of the very few people with knowledge of this information leaked it to a national newspaper. Seemingly not coincidental, this happened within about ten days of the Judicial Committee’s approval to move it to the full Senate.
With allegations this serious, questions that immediately arise include, “Was there evidence that was hidden from the jury at trial?”, “Did the police botch the original investigation?”, “Did Brett Kavanaugh’s attorney pull some slick move to get him off?”
Actually, all of these are unanswerable questions. The reason? Nobody ever knew it happened. The police were never called and no charges were ever brought against Mr. Kavanaugh.
Fast forward to this past week when the accuser testified before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. And while she gave a very believable story of a traumatic event, she, unfortunately, has no corroborative evidence. In fact, the individuals she claims were present have all denied any knowledge of the party or any of the described happenings, including her good friend. Her story has changed several times and contains serious inconsistencies. And, of course, Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Presumption of Innocence
What distinguishes our nation from many around the world is the principle that a person suspected of a crime be presumed innocent and the burden of guilt lies with the accuser. Regardless of the situation or the venue or the position sought, this principle is one that we Americans should fight to ensure remains among the noble distinctions of the United States.
Thankfully, we don’t rely simply on feelings or emotions when deciding the fate of an accused person. The preponderance of evidence is the basis upon which that decision is made.
Politics and agendas aside, the attempt to destroy the names and lives of good people should never be a tactic anyone should employ in a civil society.