Today’s Senate proceedings are not about guilt or innocence, Andrew C. McCarthy explains reminds readers in NRO. They are about qualification.
The proceedings are about Kavanaugh’s suitability to sit as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Period. The objective is to give the Senate — first the Judiciary Committee and then the full chamber — enough information to make a discriminating appraisal of Kavanaugh’s legal erudition and character. On that score, the Senate has more information about this nominee — including, most significantly, the 300 appellate opinions he has authored on the eminent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — than any nominee in the history of the United States.
The Senate is not being asked to solve alleged crimes. Its job is not to psychoanalyze witnesses. Lawmakers, instead, are exercising their constitutional duty to provide advice to the president on a nomination and, if appropriate, to consent to a nominee’s accession to office.
More to the point, no court would entertain these allegations. The reason the Constitution requires a speedy trial in criminal cases, and the reason the law imposes statutes of limitations (in federal law, it is usually five years), is that unreasonable delay unfairly prejudices an accused’s right to present a defense. After five years, to say nothing of 36 years, physical evidence is no longer available, witnesses are often unavailable, and even if witnesses can be produced, their memories have faded and become unreliable. There is no way to conduct a proceeding that satisfies fundamental fairness.
The absurd irony is Democrats want to ignore that the proceeding here is merely an exploration of Kavanaugh’s fitness to be a judge (which has been established beyond cavil); but while they want to turn the proceeding into a criminal trial, the case would be thrown out if we were operating under trial standards. The allegations are hopelessly stale, and the Judiciary Committee would be disqualified as fact-finder because its members have already made up their minds about the outcome.
Read more from Andrew McCarthy here.