Dear Editor:

For some 10 years and counting, Americans have been living in a time of unprecedented and dangerous political polarization, where raw emotion can obscure reality and one’s sense for common decency like never before.

So considering our diametrically-opposed perception of reality surrounding the potential life-changing implications that Brett Kavanaugh faced during his historic confrontation with professor Christine Blasey Ford, I believe the debate between Terrance Moe and myself has evolved into a very valuable exercise.

Mr. Moe argues in his latest “Letter to the Editor” Nov. 21 “Justice Brett Kavanaugh was not on trial,” that because Kavanaugh was not subjected to a genuine criminal trial (no one said he was) he is not owed the presumption of innocence for what Moe describes multiple times was nothing more than a “job interview.”

Yet, presumption of innocence is not only a bedrock legal principle enshrined in this nation’s justice system via protection firmly embedded in the due process clause of the Constitution, but it also has evolved into a core moral standard decent people live by as they interact with fellow Americans in everyday life. 

Realizing that the special confirmation hearing would be entering uncharted waters due to the seriousness of the allegations and the fact that Maryland has no statute of limitation for felony sexual assault such as the attempted rape claim the hearing clearly centered around, Senate Republicans in charge of establishing procedures decided to conduct the high-stakes proceeding in a “fair” manner for Kavanaugh and Ford as explicitly agreed to by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats. 

For these very reasons, Ford testified first in order for Kavanaugh to defend himself from her allegations characteristic of a criminal trial. And after all was said and done, presumption of innocence was the deciding factor in Sen. Susan Collins’ pivotal decision to confirm Kavanaugh due to zero corroborating evidence.

According to the nationally-recognized legal scholar professor Jonathan Turley, a liberal Democrat and Hillary Clinton fan “It is certainly true that senators are not judges, but they have repeatedly acknowledged their obligation to allow for a fair hearing. 

“A hearing on an allegation of this kind comes closest in the Senate to a judicial proceeding other than an impeachment trial. Witnesses appear in the expectation that the committee will afford both parties the basic protections of due process, including an open mind. It is not enough for them to say that their mind can be changed, but that they are starting with a belief that Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh is a liar.”

To bring all of the above together, and to highlight the significance and importance of presumption of innocence on American culture, these xcerpts are from an amicus brief submitted in opening arguments before the Supreme Court in Nelson and Madden v. Colorado. Per Supreme Court rules, the brief must be submitted by a neutral party and cover only relevant matter which may be of considerable help to the court in deciding.

The Institute for Justice and Cato Institute wrote: “The presumption of innocence is a deeply-held foundational principle underlying our justice system. The presumption of innocence extends well beyond the requirement that the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial and is, in fact, an axiomatic principle that defines the concept of justice and due process throughout our entire legal system. Neither liberty nor justice would exist if it was sacrificed.” 

Frank Gabl

Prospect Heights, Ill.