Kavanaugh allegations lead to slippery slope



Opinion columnist Colin Horning discusses what he sees as the harmful ability of allegations alone to potentially ruin someone's career without sufficient proof.

COLIN HORNING, Opinion Columnist

The recent confirmation process of current Supreme Court Justice (then Supreme Court nominee) Brett Kavanaugh was, to put it bluntly, a mess. The whole operation will surely go down in time as one of the most bizarre and unique Supreme Court hearings in American history.

Right at the center of the chaos was the sexual assault allegation of Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh. Despite the fact that Kavanaugh ended up being confirmed 50-48, it was mere allegations that nearly resulted in him being rejected from the nation’s highest court and his life being ruined. While many people think that Ford gave a compelling testimony and many people believe that she was in fact telling the truth, the whole process gave no actual proof of the incident happening. It definitely sounds like Ford is telling the truth when she claims that she was assaulted at a young age, but there is no way of proving that it was definitely Brett Kavanaugh who did it.

What is scary is that it was allegations, not charges, that nearly resulted in him being rejected from the highest court in the land and his life being ruined. Had Kavanaugh been proven guilty to these claims against him, then of course he wouldn’t be deserving of a seat on the Supreme Court. But that’s the issue here: there was not any definitive proof and the most of the entire allegation was based on a woman’s memory from over 30 years ago during an occasion in which there was presumably alcohol involved.

We’ve now reached a point where an allegation or claim against someone, without proof, is potentially enough to tarnish everything they have accomplished up to this point. Who’s to say that other people won’t be willing to make unproven allegations against someone for political or financial gain in the future? I am by no means saying that Ford simply made her story up, but her accusation should have come with ample amounts of evidence for it to be taken more seriously, especially considering the context of confirming or denying a Supreme Court Justice, one of the most powerful positions in the world. The entire burden of proof was shifted during the confirmation process as well. It’s common knowledge that in our judicial system, the person being accused is guilty until proven innocent, in which the one laying claims against the defendant has to show indisputable evidence in order to prove the defendant guilty. But in the case of the Kavanaugh confirmation, many Democratic senators and members of the media were willing to believe Ford’s allegations without proof and instead shifted the accountability to Kavanaugh to prove that these claims are not true.

Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly from Indiana was quoted after the testimony saying: “I think she’s an extraordinarily compelling and brave person. I think that she’s been extraordinarily credible, compelling and courageous,” but gave no evidence as to why he thinks she is credible (Donnelly ended up voting against confirming Kavanaugh).

Slate magazine published an article back on Sept. 27, stating how Ford was credible because she was honest about not knowing critical details of the incident. As I’ve stated before, Ford did not show any actual verification but was willing to be believed anyway. This is not something to be taken lightly. Allegations are just that: alleged – which by definition, means without proof.  If our media and top-ranking politicians do not require definitive evidence of an altercation, then I can see our country going down a dangerous road in the future.