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Democrats Trip Over the Kavanaugh Standard They Created

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Democrats have a serious problem of their own creation. In an attempt to torpedo the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, they created an irrational standard for sexual assault accusations that has now u-turned into their own backyard.

Accusations of sexual assault and rape against Virginia Democrat Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax and his party’s handling of the situation bring forth larger concerns than whether Fairfax should remain in office. They go to the fundamental question of how—and whether—such accusations should be handled by the political system, the justice system or the voter. 

During the Kavanaugh hearing, Democrats set “The Kavanaugh Standard," which meant “the woman must be believed.” Where does this leave the guilty and the innocent; the truthful and the liar? Does this standard apply to their own?

Most sexual assault cases are adjudicated not in a political circus, but in criminal or family court where committing and reporting these offenses is taken very seriously. According to the Department of Justice, there are 10 million sexual or domestic violence cases reported annually with 76 percent against women. As in the Fairfax case, 32 percent are by a “known acquaintance.”

False reporting of assaults is also a problem even though it is touching a third rail just to mention it. It has become an enormous challenge in divorce and custody cases. False reporting usually consists of either faulty memories or outright lies which are a dynamic of attention seeking or revenge. 

In the Kavanaugh accusations a new wrinkle was added: politics. In Kavanaugh’s case, all the accusations were from Democrats accusing a Republican nominee, making it easy for Democrats to create the politically expedient and absolute standard that all women must be believed.

But a standard not anchored in balanced justice or demonstrable truth has a propensity to backfire on those who created it. Fairfax’s accusers don’t seem to be members of the opposition. One is clearly a fellow Democrat, and the other arguably so. Now what? 

Kavanaugh accusers Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick and Judy Munro-Leighton had three attributes in common: They are all registered Democrats, liberal activists and/or had Democrat attorneys and advisors, none had any corroborating witnesses, and the FBI found no evidence of wrong-doing by Kavanaugh toward any of them.  

Two were subsequently referred by the Senate to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and one has admitted to completely fabricating her story to “derail the judge’s confirmation.” 

Neither the mental state of the accusers nor the seriousness of such charges should be a source of public entertainment. But their political backgrounds did make it easy for Democrats to take the position that any accusation against a male political figure by a female accuser is grounds for the accused’s immediate dismissal.

Accusations leveled at Fairfax are vexing for Democrats as their Kavanaugh standard doesn’t work when the accusers and the accused are politically homogeneous. Vanessa Tyson accuses Fairfax of sexual assault during the Democratic Party Convention and has witnesses who can testify to her trauma immediately after the alleged event.

Meredith Watson, who claims Fairfax raped her at Duke in 2000, has two demonstrably Democratic friends as witnesses to the aftermath of the alleged rape who have confirmed her story.  

Our nation’s legal system is guided by due process. The only similarity between Justice Kavanaugh and Lt. Governor Fairfax should be that they are both entitled to a form of public hearing. Kavanaugh’s nomination process afforded him that opportunity where he presented his case with eloquence, passion and fact—and prevailed. 

In Virginia, Democrats have hung themselves from their own petard after perverting serious charges for their own political purposes. Do they even want to air the Fairfax laundry? 

Due process notwithstanding, some Virginia Democrats are calling for Fairfax to resign. Yet a Democrat state lawmaker who commenced impeachment proceedings against him has now backed off.

Last Fall, after the hearings for the latest Republican nominee to the Supreme Court, a related poll conducted by The Hill found that 57 percent of liberals thought that treatment of public figures accused of sexual harassment was “fair.” Seventy-eight percent of conservatives disagreed. Respondents clearly decided with political bias rather than on the merits of the case, leading one to wonder how the Fairfax situation might now alter those results.

Using victims, proven or alleged, to further a political agenda is abhorrent. Democrats have thoroughly mucked up the ability of the political system to apply fairness to these accusations. It is now up to the public to fix it through a robust public conversation by demanding fair and reasonable standards for all parties involved with no consideration given to party affiliation.  

Kerri Toloczko is a Senior Policy Fellow at Institute for Liberty, a public policy organization dedicated to limited government, free enterprise and individual pursuit of the American dream. 

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