Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, drew double-takes on the right Monday after insisting that the burden of proof lies with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to prove his innocence.
Mr. Coons said that Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez “have nothing to gain” and have put themselves “at legal risk” by accusing Mr. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in his teen years.
“It is Judge Kavanaugh who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and who I think now bears the burden of disproving these allegations,” said Mr. Coons in a Monday interview on MSNBC, “rather than Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez who should be dismissed with slanderous accusations.”
Townhall.com’s Guy Benson called the argument “just wild,” while the Media Research Center blasted it as the “Dem idea of justice.”
“In the Democratic kangaroo court, the burden of proof is on the accused — when he’s a Republican,” said MRC’s Mark Finkelstein.
Meanwhile, critics on the left have countered that, “It’s not a trial — it’s a job interview,” as the Daily Kos put it.
Mr. Coons also said Monday that he will vote against Mr. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation rather than wait for the outcome of Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Ms. Blasey Ford.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, dodged a question Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper after he asked if Mr. Kavanaugh should have “the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America.”
“As I said, his credibility is already very questionable in my mind and in the minds of a lot of my fellow Judiciary Committee members, the Democrats,” Ms. Hirono said. “When I say that he is very outcome driven, he has an ideological agenda, very outcome driven, and I could sit here and talk to you about some of the cases that exemplifies his ability to be fair.”
So far the Ford and Ramirez accounts have no corroborating witnesses at the scene of either alleged assault.
Ms. Blasey Ford has said there were four people other than herself at the early 1980s party at which the alleged assault occurred, but all four, including Mr. Kavanaugh, have denied any knowledge of the gathering.
The Palo Alto University psychology professor has accused Mr. Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and groping her at the party in Bethesda, while Ms. Ramirez said he exposed himself to her at a drunken gathering at Yale University.
The New Yorker, which broke the Ramirez story, said there were no eyewitnesses and that Ms. Ramirez said she had “significant gaps in her memories,” but that an unnamed classmate was positive that he heard afterward it was Mr. Kavanaugh.
The New York Times said it decided against publishing the story after finding “no one with firsthand knowledge,” and some people who said Ms. Ramirez told them she wasn’t sure it was Mr. Kavanaugh.