The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“Democrats and Media Clamor for a Background Investigation—But the Wrong One”–Professor Hadley Arkes in National Review

With the testimonies of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Prof. Christine Blasey Ford looming, Prof. Hadley Arkes makes the case that Prof. Ford’s story warrants close scrutiny, including rigorous cross-examinations. Prof. Arkes demonstrates the absurdity and immorality of abstaining from fully investigating Dr. Ford’s background. Judge Kavanaugh’s background has been investigated by the FBI numerous times over many years. Dr. Ford’s background has not, and, indeed, cannot because she has not been nominated a federal job. To passively accept Dr. Ford’s testimony would create a false equivalency between her statements and Judge Kavanaugh’s repudiation of them.

Excerpts from the Article:

Are they doing it by design, consciously mapped out, or is it their Punchdrunkedness — jabbing in desperation, trying to find something that will produce an effect? Or can it be that the Democrats and the media cannot see that the only background check that makes sense at this moment is the one they have conspicuously avoided even mentioning: the need to check the background, the stability, the truthfulness, the integrity of the one making the charges. Hillary Clinton has declared that Professor Ford deserves “the benefit of the doubt.” But on the face of things, why should that be? What do we know of her, in comparison to the record of a life, professional and personal, that has now been documented for Brett Kavanaugh running back more than 30 years? 

She cannot be subjected to a background check, for she has not been nominated to a federal job. The only ones who could gauge her veracity would be the members and staff of the Judiciary Committee — if they were permitted to engage in the kind of strenuous cross-examination that the gravity of the charges would warrant. 

But the maddening thing now is that the Republicans, in their fearfulness, find themselves playing along in this charade. Both sides, they proclaim — Kavanaugh and Ford — should be invited in to tell their sides of the story. But in that way, the Republicans treat the two as standing on the same moral plane. No distinction between the long record of a life led in full and an assertion passionately made by a woman feeling aggrieved, but with no evidence to support her claim. 

Do they earnestly fear that women voters in the suburbs would not recognize these differences; that a large mass of women would think Professor Ford assaulted and denigrated if her unproven charges were not respected? Can the Republicans not see that they are projecting now, onto women throughout the country, the moral sensibility that the Left on the campuses has worked for years to paint as the state of mind that reflects the real Woman, as they would have her? Does that really reflect the state of mind of women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016? Why would Republicans demean their own voters in this way by reducing them to having the moral reflexes trumpeted by the people who have made “gender studies” their vocation?

Read the whole essay here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790