Jake Tapper Gets “Presumption of Innocence” Wrong. Hirono Gets America Wronger.

CNN to US Senator: “Doesn’t Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?” Wwwell…….

So, this happened on State of the Union with Jake Tapper Sunday:

This is a tough one. What’s being done to Brett Kavanaugh is absurd. Obscene, even. And Tapper’s sentiments are spot-on, just as Sen. Mazie Hirono’s shockingly candid retort is gross and flies in the face of everything our country believes.

But……….

Jake’s actually kinda wrong here. The “presumption of innocence” granted to each American citizen is specifically in the context of the legal system. When tried for a crime, the court proceeds on the presumption of innocence until the prosecution proves the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is not a mandate for the court of public opinion.

Much like the currently ever-ready defense of censorship that goes (rightly), “X isn’t a First-Amendment issue—private companies can do what they want; the right to free speech is about government silencing of views,” in the same way, people (even senators) are totally free to prejudge another person’s guilt. That might make you a jerk, or a partisan hack, but it doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.

Now, it might be considered a different circumstance because Kavanaugh is being questioned, via legal testimony, on a matter related to government determination of his fitness for an official appointment. But that’s not a criminal proceeding. Feinstein and Hirono aren’t authoritatively evaluating whether to convict him on felony charges (though it may sometimes feel that way). It’s just a hearing to decide if he should sit on the bench of SCOTUS. They can be as cynical as they want.

Of course at this point, all four of the named “witnesses” have asserted clearly under penalty of perjury they have no knowledge of anything Brett Kavanaugh is being accused of. This is a farce and beneath the dignity of our public officials. They beclown themselves by the hour. But their actions are not unconstitutional, even if they are very much, in principle, un-American.

This is naked politics. A good man’s name is being dragged through the mud to protect the institution of serial infanticide. Tapper might technically be off-base having challenged Ms. Hirono with this particular question, but its force was exactly on-point. Perhaps he might have considered instead trying, “Have you no sense of decency, Madam?

Comments
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Dave R
Dave R

Um... as long as there is sworn testimony and purgury is a possible charge, it is kind of a criminal proceeding. So yes... he deserves to be innocent until proven guilty.

And even outside of this, the same standard should be held. We all expect to be believed, treated fairly and not criminalized without evidence. This is why we have this standard in court. If not for it being a desired societal norm, it wouldn’t have been codified into our constitution.

Robert  Moore
Robert Moore

If Trump picked another Gorsuch and not the one guy on the list that he figured would keep him and his family out of jail, then that nominee would be confirmed by now. This has nothing to do with abortion.

Also, every security-critical federal employee goes through a background check, and that too is not a criminal proceeding and that too does not have a presumption of innocence.

I don't know whether Kav is innocent or not. We know that he described his prep school as being like Las Vegas. We know that there needs to be more investigation to learn the truth. We know that the GOP leadership in the Senate has already branded this woman a liar before they knew anything at all, and that Thursday's testimony is a formality since Trump and McConnell have already said that Kav is essentially confirmed already.

It definitely is naked politics. Just like Garland was. Tit for tat...