- - Monday, October 1, 2018

It is clear that Democrats have no concern for Christine Blasey Ford’s welfare. She is just a tool, like a basin wrench, for doing a particular job. That job is to prevent President Trump from ever appointing anyone to the U.S. Supreme Court again. Ever.

There may be a few people who don’t understand that, as there may be a few Japanese soldiers who haven’t yet heard that World War II has been concluded — and, as the emperor of Japan told his people, “not entirely to Japan’s advantage.” (That was then.)

Mrs. Ford has been presented as a sympathetic figure, even by some who favor Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. They need to take another look, keeping our long-standing jurisprudential rules in mind, especially the presumption of innocence.

Suppose — as the law school professors say — suppose a case similar to, but not identical with, the one Mrs. Ford has described. Suppose that the bedroom door had not been closed, and that the staircase had been just outside the door.

Suppose that during the struggle the young girl had managed to get her knees up to her chest — or the perpetrator had pushed them up there for nefarious purposes — and suppose that with a herculean effort, driven by terror and adrenalin, the girl had managed to catapult the perp into the air (more or less) so that he staggered, dazed, and then fell down the stairs, breaking his neck. The result being that he had to be hospitalized for six months, recovering only after many months of therapy, but never sufficiently to play sports or coach Little League.

Would we shed a tear? And if so, for whom? For the young girl who thought she was about to be raped by a drunken 17-year-old? Or for the young boy, a drunken adolescent? Or both?

Now — as the law professors continue — suppose our young woman was not able to catapult the young perp down the stairs. Suppose that, instead, 36 years later she runs into him at a party. He has been nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. She knows that if she tells the truth about him, no one will believe her. She remembers what happened back in 2018 when a Christine Blasey Ford accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexually molesting her 36 years earlier. Some people believed her, but many did not, primarily because she couldn’t find a single person to corroborate her story.

When our woman, no longer young, comes upon her assailant of 36 years before, he is standing at the top of some cellar stairs, and the door is open. She crashes into him, deliberately, and down the stairs he goes, breaking his neck. He is hospitalized for six months, only recovering after many months of therapy, but never sufficiently to play sports again or coach Little League — or sit on the Supreme Court.

As the law school professors ask, “What crime if any?”

What’s the difference between what our hypothetical woman did and what Mrs. Ford did?

With the best of intentions she did what she could to save the country from the man who 36 years earlier had behaved like a monster, albeit a 17-year-old monster. She stopped his political ascension and perhaps ruined his life. And she did all that even though there did not exist a single person who would corroborate her story.

Question: Which woman is the antecedent for the pronoun “she” in the preceding paragraph: Our hypothetical woman or Christine Blasey Ford?

A normal person would be horrified at what our hypothetical woman did. She took the law into her own hands: She needed no trial because she knew the man was guilty; and she meted out the punishment that effectively ruined his life.

How does that differ from what Mrs. Ford has done?

In the real world, a man who was pushed down the stairs could sue the woman for damages. It’s a simple case of battery.

How would she defend? By saying she acted from high motives: to save the country from his serving on the Supreme Court? Please. She would be found guilty in a trice and have to pay damages. Her high motives wouldn’t begin to justify her conduct.

And neither do Christine Blasey Ford’s “high” motives justify her conduct. She has damaged her victim, Judge Kavanaugh, by, inter alia, telling her story to The Washington Post, and he is entitled to redress. Normally, a public figure who sues for libel or slander must show actual malice. But accusing someone of a crime 36 years after it allegedly happened without a shred of corroborating evidence, and not even verified by people the victim named as witnesses, should be deemed constructive malice. As if she’d pushed him down the stairs.

Vigilante justice is not justice.

Judgment for the plaintiff.

Next case.

• Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco.

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