Footage from Day 6 found Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioning Supreme Court Judge Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Photo courtesy of CSPAN & Wikimedia Commons.
by Gabrielle McElyea, COLUMNIST
2 October 2018
Your feelings about Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh are irrelevant. Your feelings on President Trump are irrelevant. Your feelings on whether or not Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is being truthful are irrelevant.
What matters are the principles this country was founded on: fairness, rule of law, and the presumption of innocence. That last principle is critical to what is taking place today. Presumption of innocence is the concept that you are innocent until proven guilty and remain innocent in the absence of evidence to prove otherwise.
What matters, then, are the facts. Nothing more.
With a new attitude spreading like the plague and focused on feelings, not facts, America has been set on a dangerous path. Laws such as due process, right to a fair trial, and the 14th amendment uphold the American value of presumption of innocence. However, in today’s society we have a new standard that is becoming dangerously reminiscent to the hysteria of McCarthyism and if left unchecked, could be the beginning of the end of our republic. Particularly in regards to sexual assault accusations, men and women alike, are becoming subject to a mob mentality that proclaims you are guilty until proven innocent. The mere accusation makes you guilty.
On September 12 of this year, word got out that California Senator Dianne Feinstein was in possession of a letter written by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research sociologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The letter detailed an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the summer of 1982.
Both sides of the political aisle erupted in outrage; Democrats calling for an investigation and vowing to vote no, while Republicans showing skepticism and vowing to push forward. Liberals across the nation immediately took Dr. Ford’s words as true, simply because of her gender, and raged at anyone who showed any sign of rationalism.
Sexual assault is a gravely serious matter. I stand in support of anyone who has ever experienced such an atrocity committed against them. However, accusations such as this are also an extremely sensitive matter and should not be taken lightly.
This being said, it is shocking to see the number of people who jumped to conclusions and declared Judge Kavanaugh automatically guilty. At the same time, those who jumped in support of Judge Kavanaugh are not innocent here either–they are just as guilty as their counterparts.
Many people are forgetting about the laws in this country and our founding principles. The fifth amendment states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Due process is defined by a fundamental principle of fairness in all legal matters.
Many intolerant individuals in this nation have not afforded due process to Judge Kavanaugh. In his personal life, his family has been destroyed, his name has been tattered, his reputation all but smeared. Even during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, September 28, it was shown that certain members would not afford him his basic rights — not allowing him a fair chance to testify.
The Democrats on the committee showed him no mercy, while they showed compassion, support, and sympathy to Dr. Ford. Senators grilled Judge Kavanaugh on drinking, partying, and of course pushed the idea of an FBI investigation.
Senator Dianne Feinstein began the questioning saying, “When we get allegations we are not in a position to prove it or disprove it, therefore we have to depend on some outside authority for it. And it would seem to me that when these allegations came forward that you would want the FBI to investigate those claims, and clear it up once and for all.”
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois brought the idea of a FBI investigation up again, however he was more direct and harsh about it, not willing to understand what Judge Kavanaugh was expressing to him; that the FBI would not give the Senate a conclusion. The FBI will simply question people and report those responses back to the Senate.
Those that assume Judge Kavanaugh is guilty and are calling for the FBI to investigate need to understand that the Senate Judiciary Committee already conducted their own investigation. One that the democrats refused to take part in. An FBI investigation would only further show that Dr. Ford has no real evidence to present. Politico reported on September 22, the four witnesses she brought into this have denied the party or ever being at a party such as the one described by Dr. Ford.
This fact indicates that the FBI investigation would turn into a ‘he said, she said’ case. Thus reiterating that an outside investigation conducted would solve nothing.
Bipartisanship is now a foreign concept to many Americans, thanks to the utter lack of civility shown by members of Congress and the media. They place feelings above facts and laws. They say they want equality for all, yet they refuse to be fair and just to anyone who even slightly disagrees. They say conservatives are the intolerant ones, yet they act as children when one thing does not go their way. The reactions to Hillary Clinton losing in 2016 were nothing short of hysterical and continue to guide the actions of the Left two years later. The Left needs to focus less on feelings and more on facts and will do well to remember that we have a rule of law in this country that is based on the presumption of innocence and due process.
The facts of this case are this (and the facts are evolving faster than the wheels of justice are trying to spin): Dr. Ford does not remember where the alleged incident took place, she does not remember how she got there or how she got home, she does not remember whose house it took place in. Every single witness she says was there have said — under oath — that they do not recall any party such as the one she described and deny ever seeing Judge Kavanaugh act in the manner she describes. One of the alleged witnesses is a lifelong friend of Dr. Ford and she denies ever having met Judge Kavanaugh. There is simply no evidence that supports her claim that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when she was 15 years old.
Meanwhile, the facts surrounding Kavanaugh are a whirlwind as well. Sources indicate at the time of this printing that Kavanaugh has perjured himself by claiming he has no historical ties to Yale when his grandfather, in fact, went there. And now, text messages related to his third accuser possess the potential to upset his nomination even more.
But these are the facts, devoid of emotion. This is how justice works.
Both sides of this investigation are surrounded by facts, facts we should consider. But we shouldn’t let our feelings about these facts dictate the way we perceive what’s happening, at least not until we have proven confirmation that Kavanaugh is either innocent or guilty. And, admittedly, the nature of this case warrants an emotional response. The implications of this case, in a year overwhelmed with the #MeToo movement, inspire raw emotion. But raw emotions should not govern the initiation or the outcome of this investigation.
Our nation’s second President John Adams once said, “It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, ‘whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,’ and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.”
America needs to digest what John Adams said long ago about the protection of innocence. We are a country founded on the principles of life, liberty, and freedom. I believe America and its citizens are good people. The wonderful thing about our country is that people with all different beliefs can coexist and contribute to society to make something unique and beautiful.
However, our nation has stumbled onto a path that will drive us away from our foundations and ultimately unravel our way of life. My solution to this mess, and especially the case against Brett Kavanaugh, is to take a breath, take a step back, hit the pause button. To come to a conclusion we need to look at this case objectively, only look at the facts and abide by the laws, understand how processes in the government work, and take our feelings out of it completely. In short, focus on facts not feelings. Scientists do not experiment and investigate using their feelings. They rely on facts. As a nation, we must do the same or it will be the end of this great experiment called the United States of America.
America needs to go back to its roots.
Gabrielle McElyea is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl