Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP platform: College rape claims need to be "prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge"

Sometimes, we need to take sides. Sometimes the choices are easy--the GOP has written a platform that ought to be applauded by people concerned about the rights of the presumptively innocent.

For more than five years, the current administration has manifested an unprecedented hostility to due process when it comes to college students (almost always males) accused of sexual assault. This blog has published literally hundreds of posts on this hostility, and there is no need to summarize it for our readers. People who suggest that the previous administration was "just as bad" are simply wrong, and that position is part of the problem.

The presumptive Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton, has signaled that she will take this hostility to another level. She believes that the sex act is presumptively rape whenever an accusation is made and that it is up to the accused to prove it wasn't. See here. Anyone who doesn't appreciate the gravity of Mrs. Clinton's positions is unschooled on the issues--she is espousing a position long-advocated by radical feminist extremists.

Too many of the once-heroic champions of due process in the Democratic Party have lately opted to worship at the altar of group identity politics instead, and they happily support the erosion of due process when it comes to one gender, and one crime.

When was the last time a liberal openly cheered rolling back due process protections? They do it now all the time when it comes to college men and sex accusations. The principal exceptions seem to be law professors who appreciate that due process is the greatest bulwark against tyranny and injustice ever devised by man. In the political realm, the protectors of due process are now the libertarians and Constitutional conservatives with libertarian leanings like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Sen. Rubio expressly supported ending the the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’s "assault against due process rights" when it comes to college men accused of sexual assault.

Now the GOP platform has addressed the issue, and its words are unmistakable. Rape is a crime, and it needs to be proved in court beyond a reasonable doubt, not by misapplying the Title IX preponderance of the evidence standard (and, yes, they misapply the standard--see here).

The 2016 GOP platform, page 35:
Sexual assault is a terrible crime. We commend the good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners to address that crime responsibly. Whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge. Questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt. Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law. The Administration’s distortion of Title IX to micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations of abuse contravenes our country’s legal traditions and must be halted before it further muddles this complex issue and prevents the proper authorities from investigating and prosecuting sexual assault effectively with due process.
Like it or not, it is the GOP, not the Democratic Party, that seeks to protect our sons from the politically correct witch hunt against them on our college campuses. This is not a position that the law and order GOP of Bob Dole and others of his ilk would have taken 20 years ago--we ought to applaud the GOP for coming to this position. But for many of us who have spent decades of our lives as Democrats, it is a bitter pill to swallow--this is not the party of John F. Kennedy or even Bill Clinton. This is something qualitatively different, and it is out to punish an entire gender by making it far too easy to punish the presumptively innocent for offenses they didn't commit. They have lost me, folks.