The presumption of guilt

As Scott wrote this morning, the proposition that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty is to be applied by a jury sitting in a criminal case. The proposition need not be applied in an election campaign and, if one chooses to apply it, one should not demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But in the case of Roy Moore, as a friend emailed me to say, “the Left is pushing a presumption of guilt — indeed, treating Moore as if he had been proven guilty — which is also incorrect.”

Nor is guilt being presumed solely by the Left. Nancy French, writing in the Washington Post, presumes that Moore is guilty of the criminal conduct alleged by Leigh Corfman.

Max Boot goes further in a piece for USA Today. Not only does he presume that Moore is guilty of the alleged criminal conduct, he argues that the Republican Party “deserves to die” because Senate Republicans aren’t demanding that Moore exit the race and threatening to endorse the Democrat if he refuses.

Boot does allow that “of course, no one wants to see anyone punished for false allegations.” But he counters that there isn’t enough time to determine whether the allegation of criminal conduct by Moore is true. Therefore, Republicans must act as if it is true, and “die” as a Party if they demur.

Nonsense. As Scott says, “we are left to judge Moore’s fitness for office based on a common sense reading of the facts and circumstances.” There’s enough time to do that. We can also wait for more facts before reaching a conclusion.

Boot barely seems interested in the endeavor. He writes:

The Post account is full of detailed corroboration from 30 people, including the victims, who spoke on the record.

“Detailed corroboration from 30 people” of what? That many decades ago, Moore dated and kissed teenage girls, apparently with their consent? There’s a fair amount of corroboration of this claim.

That Moore sexually touched an underage girl? No. The corroboration of this claim is thin and there are factors that weigh against believing it.

Boot concludes:

Roy Moore could molest a 14-year-old girl and not lose votes. Because for Republican partisans, their opponents are “the forces of evil,” and anything is preferable to that. Even Donald Trump. Even Roy Moore. So in ostensibly fighting evil, Republicans have become complicit in it.

This is a party that does not deserve to survive.

(Emphasis added).

Here, we finally get to the heart of the matter. Boot, it seems, wants the Republican Party to die for the “sin” of nominating Donald Trump. Only that wish provides a rational explanation for his call that the GOP “die” because of its response to allegations against Roy Moore.


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