As the Left Trashes Due Process, Black Men Speak Up in its Defense
The defenders of Western Civ are much more diverse than its enemies.
For the past year I’ve been writing a series for The Stream about my experience in 2018. That’s when my high school friend Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court. To sink his nomination, the left used oppo research, bad acting, witness tampering, lies, and lapdog media. Liberals peddled the false charge that Brett sexually assaulted a girl then named Christine Blasey when we were all in high school. Journalists and operatives tried to bully and extort me into testifying against my friend, who was innocent. (The story is going to be a book.)
After it was all over in October 2018, liberal Atlantic writer Jemel Hill went to Ozy Media’s “Take On America” town hall series in Baltimore. The gathering featured over 100 black men in the audience. Coming on the heels of the Kavanaugh battle, Hill was positive she was going to hear a lot of anguish over the Republican victory.
Instead, she heard support for Kavanaugh. Hill reported:
On Tuesday night, I was in an auditorium with 100 black men in the city of Baltimore, when the subject pivoted to Brett Kavanaugh. I expected to hear frustration that the sexual-assault allegations against him had failed to derail his Supreme Court appointment. Instead, I encountered sympathy. One man stood up and asked, passionately, “What happened to due process?” He was met with a smattering of applause, and an array of head nods.
The “Bizarre Kinship” of the Falsely Accused
Hill then reflects on what she calls a “bizarre kinship” between black men and Kavanaugh. “[B]lack men were tossing out examples of how white lies had wrecked black lives.”
Yet this was not a “bizarre kinship” at all. The black men Hill observed were not, as she opined, “missing something.” They were Americans defending due process and the presumption of innocence, ideas that go back at least to the Magna Carta in 1215.
Hill noted that “countless times, black men have had to witness the careers and reputations of other black men ruthlessly destroyed because of unproved rape and sexual-assault accusations. And as that Baltimore audience member also argued, if the claims were made by a white woman, expect the damage to be triple.” She concluded that “Kavanaugh’s emotional defense of his reputation against the claims of a sympathetic white woman resonated with these unlikely allies. And it wasn’t just in Baltimore.”
Remember Brian Banks
Hill went on to describe how the same name kept coming up: Brian Banks. Banks was a senior at Long Beach Poly High School, a gifted football star. He had committed to attend and play for the University of Southern California when his career was destroyed by a false rape accusation. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2012, Banks served five years in prison after striking a plea deal that spared him from serving 41 years in prison.
Banks was exonerated when his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, sent Banks a friend request on Facebook once he was out of prison. Hill wrote: “Gibson, a high-school sophomore when she accused Banks of rape, agreed to meet with Banks and a private investigator because, she said, she felt guilty and had ‘a desire to make amends.’”
Kiss Presumed Innocence Goodbye
In a new piece up on his page on Substack, journalist Matt Taibbi has a long essay in defense of due process. Taibbi, no Trump fan, marvels at the way the left has abandoned the presumption of innocence. He cites the case of Carter Page, who was tried and convicted as a Russian spy in the media, who had the story exactly backwards. Here’s Taibbi:
The only protection most have against accusations is in the law, and in whatever meager level of general respect the public maintains for it. In the Trump years, belief in concepts like the presumption of innocence started to erode among those who once believed most in them. Do people like Carter Page need reporters to weep for them? No, but there was never any evidence that Page was an “agent of a foreign power.” In fact, it turned out there was quite specific evidence that he worked with the C.I.A. against Russia. It should have been a basic issue of media propriety to be publicly sorry about that, even in brief, but it wasn’t.
Taibbi also observes that hiring an attorney is now treated as evidence of guilt.
That argument — that the defendant’s intent to actually exercise legal rights shows guilt in itself — is the kind of thing liberals used to decry all the time, coming from ‘tough on crime; Republicans. Opinions like that occur when you’ve fallen too far into the habit of judging people rather than evidence. Suddenly process becomes a canard, and you even get lawyers saying that hiring a lawyer is evidence of guilt.
Leftists who see any loop as a potential lynching noose have started making and selling the rope. Well, at least it’s made of hemp.
Mark Judge is a writer and filmmaker in Washington, D.C.