Quote of the Day:
Judge Kavanaugh is on trial for his life.
–Alan Dershowitz in "This Is No Mere 'Job Interview'" in the Wall Street Journal
A key talking point of the left in its take-no-prisoners quest to prevent Judge Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court is that due process and burden of proof don't apply here–because this is just a job interview, not a trial.
Alan Dershowitz shows how phony and dangerous this is in today's Wall Street Journal. Dershowitz writes:
Being on the Supreme Court is a privilege, not a right. But being disqualified based on a false accusation of a crime would be a violation of the fundamental right to fairness. Some will argue that the issue of Judge Kavanaugh’s ideological and professional qualifications should be merged with the sexual allegations and that doubts should be resolved against a lifetime appointment.
In some cases that would be a plausible argument. But it is too late for that kind of nuanced approach now, because these accusations have received world-wide attention. Judge Kavanaugh is on trial for his life. At stake are his career, his family, his legacy and a reputation earned over many decades as a lawyer and judge.
If he is now denied the appointment, it will be because he has been depicted as a sexual predator who deserves contempt, derision and possible imprisonment. He may no longer be able to teach law, coach sports or expect to be treated respectfully.
He could be forced to resign his current judicial position, because having a “convicted” rapist on the bench is unseemly. For these reasons, he now has the right—perhaps not a legal right, but a right based on fundamental fairness—to have the charges against him put to the test of clear and convincing evidence or some standard close to that.
The court of public opinion is different from a court of law, but it too is an important court. Wouldn’t anyone rather be convicted in a court of law of drunken driving—also a serious crime—than convicted in the court of public opinion of being a serial sex predator? Many would even rather go to prison for a year on drunken driving charges than be labeled a sexual predator for life.
In a nation dedicated to fairness and due process, explicit constitutional rights often serve as a metaphor and guide in the kind of basic fairness we demand even in nonlegal proceedings. That model should operate here as well.
Dershowitz is a liberal Democrat who believes that Republicans improperly denied Judge Merrick Garland a seat on the Supreme Court.
This battle, however, has become about the most basic issue of fairness. This is similar to the McCarthy era, when innocent people were ruined by false accusations.