Subject: How to Resolve the Kavanaugh Nomination: The Bible & Constitutional Due Process
Deuteronomy 16:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”
How would you deal with an accusation against someone that happened 36 years ago, the victim cannot recall the specifics surrounding the accusation (but just that it happened), the victim has no witnesses to corroborate his or her story, the accused denies it ever happened, no one involved remembers much of the events surrounding the accusation, and no crime can be attached to the allegation?
On top of this, when the victim is offered to come forward and testify against the accused in a private setting, in the presence of an impartial committee, the victim refuses to do so. This type of allegation doesn’t sound like something anyone would take very seriously, nor spend much time worrying over.
But this is a sexual assault allegation which has surfaced as the nomination of US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was about to go to vote. We are also in the midst of the “Me Too” movement, which raises awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace, followed by an explosion in high-profile sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, including such celebrities as Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey, news anchor Matt Lauer and reporter Charlie Rose.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of attacking her and trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a suburban Maryland party in 1982 when they were both high school students. She also claims Mark Judge witnessed it, but he denies it: “I have no memory of this alleged incident. Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter.” Judge Kavanaugh called Dr. Ford’s allegations “completely false.”
The real point of contention in this incident is that Dr. Ford’s attorneys demand an FBI investigation into this incident, regardless of whether or not there is any validity behind it, simply because it is a sexual assault allegation. “A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions,” the lawyers wrote. The obvious problem: the alleged incident occurred 36 years ago, there are no other witnesses, and no one remembers any specifics of it.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is overseeing the nomination, has called a hearing for Monday to examine the charge, inviting both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh to come forward and testify in more detail. Judge Kavanaugh has agreed. Dr. Ford has refused, stating an FBI investigation must come first.
The FBI has already investigated Judge Kavanaugh six separate times in the past, as part of normal procedure in his line of work. The results have always shown an impeccable character. The Judge’s name has withstood scrutiny. But now, without any evidence, his name is associated with a sexual predator. A lifetime of unblemished public service has been corrupted by one very public but unprovable charge, from an undocumented incident, by an accuser who is not liable for the truthfulness of the incident.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said there is no reason to delay Ford’s testimony, encouraging her to accept the invitation to testify: “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay,” Grassley said in a statement. The FBI also has stated there are no grounds for any criminal investigation since there is no evidence of any crime committed and the statute of limitations has long since passed.
Our verse this week comes from the Old Testament rule of law, which explains how to deal with someone who has sinned. You do not accuse someone based on the testimony of a sole witness, especially when there is no evidence behind the accusation. Jesus Christ Himself, in Matthew 16:15, validates this Old Testament law as the righteous method of examining any sin that is leveled against someone.
Our Founding Fathers implemented this biblical mandate within our Constitution, known as “due process”, to protect someone’s good name as innocent pending the evidence. It is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights owed to a person. Notice and opportunity to be heard are fundamental to due process, which includes an impartial hearing. So, our Constitution does not allow Dr. Ford’s testimony alone to destroy Judge Cavanaugh’s good name, nor his appointment to SCOTUS.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.