According to Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, if Brett Kavanaugh is defeated by the accusations leveled against him today, the outcome will be an America divided for a generation.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court is a watershed event that will define America’s politics for years. If the Kavanaugh nomination fails because of the accusations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford and others, America’s system of politics, indeed its everyday social relations, will be conducted in the future on the Kavanaugh Standard. It will deepen the country’s divisions for a generation.
The Kavanaugh Standard will hold that any decision requiring a deliberative consideration of contested positions can and should be decided on just one thing: belief. Belief is sufficient. Nothing else matters.
Rape is already a prosecutable crime. Definitions of sexual harassment are undergoing a reconsideration that may yet produce new legal standards to determine liability or suitability for employment. Right now, we are not close to a consensus.
nce the decades-old accusations had been made against Judge Kavanaugh, with no corroboration available or likely, the Senate Judiciary Committee had no practical or formal basis for enlarging the discussion about his nomination. For everyone, the way forward was into a fog.
Then something new happened. Half of the Senate Judiciary Committee created this standard: “I believe Christine.”
It is an inescapable irony that the Kavanaugh Standard—“I believe”—is being established inside the context of a nomination to the highest U.S. court. This new standard for court nominees (and surely others in and outside politics) would be that judgment can be rendered in the absence of substantive argument or any legal standard relating to corroboration, cross-examination or presumption of innocence.
In fact, the Kavanaugh Standard would have less intellectual content than liberalism’s previous judicial gold standard—agreement with the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. The new, operative standard, assuming two Republican senators abandon Judge Kavanaugh, will come down to a leap of faith.
Read more here.
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