WSJ Editorial Board: The Left Has Killed the Presumption of Innocence

A picture taken on September 19, 2017 at Rennes' courthouse shows a statue of the goddess of Justice balancing the scales. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty

The Wall Street Journal editorial board published a column last week that argued that liberals are no longer interested in the presumption of innocence.

The column opens with two quotes, one from Sen. Maize Hirono (D-HI), and Anita Hill, who was once the subject of a similar Congressional hearing during the Clarence Thomas nomination.

As Judge Kavanaugh stands to gain the lifetime privilege of serving on the country’s highest court, he has the burden of persuasion. And that is only fair,” Hill said earlier in September.

Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed,” Hirono said recently.
Although it wasn’t included in the column, it’s worth noting that Chuck Schumer joined the crowd, arguing that “there’s no presumption of innocence or guilt when you have a nominee before you.”
The column argues that the left’s approach to the Kavanaugh hearing’s had destroyed the standards of due process that are the cornerstone of the American legal system. To the left, accusers are simply to be believed without question.
The last-minute accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is an ugly spectacle by any measure. But if there is a silver lining, it is that the episode is providing an education for Americans on the new liberal standard of legal and political due process.

As Ms. Hill and Sen. Hirono aver, the Democratic standard for sexual-assault allegations is that they should be accepted as true merely for having been made. The accuser is assumed to be telling the truth because the accuser is a woman. The burden is on Mr. Kavanaugh to prove his innocence. If he cannot do so, then he is unfit to serve on the Court.

This turns American justice and due process upside down. The core tenet of Anglo-American law is that the burden of proof always rests with the person making the accusation. An accuser can’t doom someone’s freedom or career merely by making a charge.

You can read the entire column here.

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