Don’t Rush to a Supreme Court Decision. The Judicial Process Is at Stake.

Don’t Rush to a Supreme Court Decision. The Judicial Process Is at Stake. September 28, 2018
Court
The Supreme Court. Creative Commons

The American Bar Association called yesterday for delaying a Senate vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination until the FBI can investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. What is perhaps most striking is that prior to the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and other women the ABA had approved Judge Kavanaugh as well-qualified for the highest court in the land. The reason for the call to delay is based on respect for justice and the judicial process.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the ABA wrote, “Each appointment to our nation’s highest court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” the letter added. “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.”

Certainly, one is innocent until proven guilty, and we the public do not ultimately know if Judge Kavanaugh is guilty of the charges. And yes, the Judiciary Committee would need to ascertain the merits of the information the FBI provides. Even so, the more information the better. Haste makes waste in terms of the due judicial process and respect for our governmental institutions.

We all struggle with partisan perspectives of various kinds. No doubt, there are partisan biases at work on both sides of the aisle in Congress to push forward or delay the vote. For both sides—Republicans and Democrats alike, the November elections loom. One way or another, the outcome of the elections would likely have a major bearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, if the vote is delayed until that time.

Even so, the outcome of the elections is part of the democratic process. A full assessment of the allegations to help determine whether they are true or false would also be part of the democratic process. Yes, Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation is at stake, as are the reputations of the women bringing forth the allegations. So, too, the reputation of our democratic process is at stake. A hasty decision will only fuel partisan flames more. We should also keep in mind that most sexual misconduct cases do not get reported. Perpetrators of sexual crimes are far less likely to be convicted and imprisoned than those guilty of other criminal offenses. What does moving forward without an FBI investigation say to women across the country about justice in our land? Are not those who have brought forth the allegations themselves innocent until proven guilty?

Many Democrats bemoaned the impeachment proceedings concerning President Clinton involving the Monica Lewinsky case, just as many Republicans are bemoaning the case of Christine Blasey Ford. But for the sake of pursuing truth over policy of this or that party, let’s not rush to a decision. The judicial process is at stake.

 

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