Its been obvious for a long time that Democrats no longer believe in due process, particularly when it comes to sexual harassment claims. Believe all women!
But theres something bone chilling about hearing one of their most prominent figures say it as plainly as Catherine Lhamon did Tuesday at her confirmation hearing.
Lhamon is President Joe Bidens pick to be the assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department. Her greatest hits include signing the 2014 Obama-era Dear Colleague letter that pressured higher education institutions under Title IXs anti-discriminatory statute to more aggressively pursue sexual harassment claims in ways that were often shockingly unfair to the accused.
In 2020, under then-secretary Betsy DeVos, the department issued a formal rule on the matter. Democrats, including Biden, suffered a psychotic break because the new changes put in place a formal process that, unlike the Dear Colleague guidance, considered both the needs of the victims and the right of the accused to properly defend his or herself.
Biden said after the rule change was announced in May 2020 that it gives colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and he vowed to end it when he took office.
In a tweet at the time of the change, Lhamon said that DeVos presides over taking us back to the bad old days, that predate my birth, when it was permissible to rape and sexually harass students with impunity.
Asked at Tuesdays hearing about that charming little note, Lhamon defended it and said she believed that as the departments rule stands today, it permits the sexual assault of a student without consequence for the assailant.
I think the regulation I think what I said in the tweet, so the regulation permits students to rape and sexually harass with impunity, she said. I think that the law, that the regulation has weakened the intent of Title IX that congress wrote.
Its absurd. The DeVos changes did no such thing. What they did was create procedures that all public schools and universities would have to follow to ensure the protection of sexual harassment victims while also giving the accused every opportunity to defend himself against the allegations, including the right to see all evidence against him and representation in cross-examination of all relevant parties.
We used to call that the right to due process. Democrats now call it the right to rape and sexually harass with impunity.
At the end of the hearing, Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina asked Lhamon to clarify whether she believed the rules on sexual harassment at the Education Department should inherently include the presumption of innocence of the accused. It should be to no ones surprise that Lhamon did not hesitate to say absolutely.
Of course thats not what happened. What she actually said was that school investigators should start with no assumption at all, but merely be open to the possibility that the accused person is innocent.
My view is that civil rights investigators, investigators at school need to start from the presumption that the facts are what they are and they need to find out what they are, she said. So they shouldnt be assuming somebody is guilty because a person has been accused. Guilt is not even the right word. Now Ive walked into the criminal process.
And then she delivered the goods. They shouldnt be assuming that someone is responsible because a person has been accused, she said. They should be open to the possibility that the person is not.
This is where the Democratic Party has been for a long time. But now that theyre in the White House, theyre a lot more comfortable saying it out loud.
Eddie Scarry is the D.C. columnist at The Federalist and author of "Privileged Victims: How America's Culture Fascists Hijacked the Country and Elevated Its Worst People," .
I remember sitting in my office looking out the window at the nice wooded area view that I had in 1989 thinking, "we are entering another dark age." My thinking was prompted by watching GHW Bush on TV. What I saw was willful blindness ("the vision thing") and lust for power. It has only accelerated since.
The turning point came much earlier in the century, but Bush was like a big neon sign that said, "Leaving Constitutional Liberty", the rule of law; entering the rule of political power. Political power had always been a problem dating back to "big man" tribal rule. The founding of the USA was a high point in political history because it had diffused political power from central control and explicitly recognized the rights of the individual. Recognition of those rights eventually defeated the "slave power" and ushered in a period of unprecedented prosperity and growth of middle class families. Arts and sciences boomed forth from individuals without government support. Just 50 years after being freed from slavery, blacks produced joyful New Orleans jazz; working men invented machines, products, and services that improved lives and increased life expectancy.
Those days are gone. Centralized powers now produce lies and harmful products while treating people like subjects to an all-powerful political regime and its abusive bureaucracies. Cheerio.