A judge who relies on a large dose of common sense in her approach to the law is worried that the furor surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh might induce Americans to make up their minds before hearing from all sides.
Although Kavanaugh has denied allegations of sexual misconduct from his high school and college days, Democrats have demanded investigations into the claims and said Kavanaugh’s nomination should be frozen because of the accusations.
That troubles Judith Sheindlin, who as “Judge Judy” appears in millions of American homes on TV.
Sheindlin, a former prosecutor and family court judge, was approached by TMZ for comment on the Kavanaugh case. She did not offer support to one side or the other, but criticized the process she saw going on around her.
“One hopes that people wait and don’t rush to judgment and listen to both sides of an argument before they make a decision,” Sheindlin said. “That’s what’s supposed to happen in a fair judicial process.”
Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the University of Palo Alto professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a high school party in the 1980s, are each scheduled to appear Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hearing from both sides is essential in forming an opinion, Sheindlin said.
“There’s always the hope that reasoned people will listen to both sides of an argument before they make a judgment call. That’s what people are supposed to do,” she said.
“They’re not supposed to rush to judgment on either side. They’re supposed to listen to evidence and then make a judgment. And if that doesn’t happen, then the end result is not fair,” she added.
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However, as reported by The Western Journal, Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii has said Kavanaugh does not deserve the presumption of innocence because of his political opinions.
She also said the standards are different for Kavanaugh.
“Look, we are not in a court of law, we are in a court of credibility at this point,” Hirono said Monday in an an interview on MSNBC.
Hirono also cast the allegations against Kavanaugh in a partisan light, saying Republicans “cannot face the idea that women do not sit around making these things up. Dr. Ford, her life has been upended. Women do not sit around making these things up.”
In The Week, commentator Edward Morrissey wrote that if confirmation becomes character assassination, and allegations are believed regardless of facts, both sides lose in the end.
“Shifting the burden of proof on Senate confirmations, appointments, and elections changes all the incentives for public service. If we are not to evaluate claims on ‘facts’ in order to determine whether the ‘essence’ actually is ‘real, then what should form the basis of our evaluation? Whether or not we like the accused? Which party does he or she represent, or which party appointed him?” he wrote.
He likened the environment that could be created to the Salem witch trials of colonial America.
“This is not a recipe for justice, but instead an environment for bare-knuckled politics and a breeding ground for a return to Salem circa 1692. Such an environment will repel men and women of goodwill and good character from public service, incentivizing only the most insensitive and impervious personalities to choose to serve,” he wrote.
“That will lead to even further degradation of public discourse and an erosion of trust in institutions, which will make witch hunts and smear campaigns even more likely.”
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