In a criminal trial, the burden of truth, of proof is on the prosecution. They must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty of the crime. The defense has no need to prove their client didn’t do it, only that there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict. It’s why a jury returns one of two verdicts: “guilty” and “not guilty”. They don’t return “innocent”. They don’t really know. They are just saying there is not enough evidence to convict. So what does this mean?
In the case of someone being presented as a candidate to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), the burden is different. There needs to be proof of “innocence”. The final arbiters of justice have to be above guilt or innocence, they need to be beyond reproach. Here, the burden of proof needs to be on innocence, not on “not guilty”. I don’t know what Brett Kavanaugh did or didn’t do. I know there is a credible accusation. I believed Anita Hill. I know that “pussy grabber in chief” nominated him. We need someone beyond reproach, not someone under a cloud of guilt. The Senate failed with Clarence Thomas. We deserve better and can only hope they don’t us fail again.
One thought on “The Burden of Proof”
Well said. We all understand that there will be differing memories on the part of these two people, and the “storytelling” will be fractured and clouded over with emotions, including trauma and guilt (on her part) and rage, indignation and fear (on his). So, don’t fixate on the details of the stories. Focus on the themes.
And they are so familiar. A woman threatened, traumatized and harmed by a man. A man feeling entitled to take liberties with a woman’s body and life. These themes pervade our human life and culture, and always have. And though of course not all of us are victims or victimizers, we are all hurt by this energy. It’s our responsibility as people to try and move our human race and culture beyond the doing of harm to each other. And we do so by calling people to account. Especially a man we are contemplating hiring to judge the actions of others, and to enact justice for the people of this country! If he’s accused of attempted rape, he is not fit for the job.