“Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”—Roman proverb
If an 18-year-old babysitter is accused of abusing a kid, the burden of proof for a criminal conviction is very high. We expect a full investigation, and we expect the rights of the accused to be respected. If a civil suit is brought against the same babysitter, the burden of proof is considerably lower, because we understand that taking away somebody’s money is one thing, taking away somebody’s freedom is another thing altogether.
But what if we don’t have enough evidence for criminal court or civil court? What if all we have is a plausible claim from a credible source? Would you still hire this babysitter to babysit your kids? Of course not. You’d find another babysitter, right? Because better safe than sorry. Because your kids are really important to you. Because the burden of proof is very low when you’re choosing a babysitter.
If a plausible claim from a credible source is enough to scotch the candidacy of a potential babysitter, it ought to be enough to scotch the candidacy of a potential Supreme Court Justice. We have a plausible claim from a credible source concerning Brett Kavanaugh. Do we have enough evidence for a criminal conviction? Nope. Could he be innocent? Sure. But why not err on the side of caution? After all, this is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Besides, just as there are plenty of great babysitters to choose from, there are plenty of great jurists to choose from.
I can think of but one reason why Professor Ford would want to bring this kind of hell upon herself (and her family): patriotism. She’s behaving like a selfless citizen and an altruistic hero. She’s taking a bullet for her country because she believes that a man of Kavanaugh’s character shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court. Could she be mis-remembering the incident? Perhaps. But I doubt it. Regardless, I think it ought to be obvious that she’s not lying. She believes it happened. And we would be wise to believe her and err on the side of caution. Just as Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion, nominees to the Supreme Court must be above suspicion.
—John Faithful Hamer