Quote of the Day:
A judicial process that doesn’t allow the accused to cross-examine his accuser or reliably see the evidence against him is a civil libertarian’s nightmare. It traduces every principle of fairness and is blatantly un-American.
–Rich Lowry at NRO
As Lowry notes, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is about to be savaged for putting in place a system that respects due process when accusations of sexual misconduct are lodged on American college campuses.
The Obama Office of Civil Rights established guidelines for dealing with such cases that denied the accused the basic legal right to defend himself (and it generally was a him) that is a hallmark of Western jurisprudence.
The Obama guidelines established a "preponderance of evidence" rather than a "clear and convincing" standard. The accused could not question the accuser, and sexual misconduct was redefined so as to include just about anything.
A sop to feminist activists, the guidelines quickly fostered college tribunals that have been called kangaroo courts. Just for the record: We want all guilty of rape to be punished to the utmost extent of the law. But kangaroo courts are not the way to ascertain culpability.
Lowry calls these tribunals "medieval in the sense that they ignore central developments in Anglo-American justice that arose hundreds of years ago." Many of these "convictions" have later been reversed in "real" courts, including these instances. Lowry writes:
A U.S. District Court judge wrote in a 2016 ruling against Brandeis University: “If a college student is to be marked for life as a sexual predator, it is reasonable to require that he be provided a fair opportunity to defend himself and an impartial arbiter to make that decision. Put simply, a fair determination of the facts requires a fair process, not tilted to favor a particular outcome, and a fair and neutral fact-finder, not predisposed to reach a particular conclusion.”
The new guidelines are still being finalized.
Prepare for outrage when the Department of Eeducation releases them.
But they are nothing more, and nothing less, than an attempt to restore the age-old right to due process on campuses.