At a recent D.C. gala hosted by the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reflected back on the intensive Senate nomination fight surrounding now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In what can only be read as a direct verbal assault upon the Left’s deeply personal character attacks and reliance upon uncorroborated sole witness testimony to defame the decorated jurist, McConnell referred to the fight at the gala as one for “basic American principles of fairness and justice.”

Per the Washington Examiner:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted at a prominent anti-abortion gala that he had helped confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite Democratic and outside opposition, a move he viewed as one of many victories he secured for advocates who had gathered.

“We were voting more than one man’s career,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday evening. “We were voting on basic American principles of fairness and justice. Does the presumption of innocence still apply in America? Yes.”

The Examiner further succinctly recounts the Kavanaugh fight: “The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh in October after he faced a bruising confirmation battle when Christine Blasey Ford testified that he had sexually assaulted her when he was drunk and they were both in high school. Until Ford came forward, much of the backlash from outside groups had been centered around whether Kavanaugh would be the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.”

Famously moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) ultimately provided the decisive vote in Kavanaugh’s favor. The Daily Wire reported on Collins’ vote — and monumental Senate floor speech announcing her vote — at the time. Collins stated:

In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be. We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.

The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominee’s otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward.

Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important. I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by Professor Ford, but of the allegation that, when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facilitate gang rape. This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others. That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.

Despite joining the Court as a Republican nominee, Kavanaugh has gotten off to a somewhat slow jurisprudential start. After all, despite the Left’s howling and shrieking during his confirmation fight, there existed the indubitable reality that Kavanaugh was hardly the most conservative jurist public proffered as a possible replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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