Individuals have a right to confront their accuser. They have a right to defend themselves. Accusers have a right to be heard. They do not have a right to be believed absent evidence or to make anonymous charges and then refuse to support them. Partisans cannot prove an individual’s guilt by invoking the real or alleged crimes of others. Nor should they insist that even if he’s innocent, he should let himself be bullied into surrender for the greater good.
That is not the rule of law; it’s not even decency. It’s the rule of the mob, and the fact that it is coming from prominent journalists and senators doesn’t make it any less repugnant.
And here’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown on the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh . (As a dear friend noted in a text that she sent to me this morning, if these allegations are true, it’s a wonder that Kavanaugh found any time at all to study!)
To distinguish law from legislation is not to insist that law is always superior to legislation. Particular laws can be undesirable, and legislation often serves useful purposes. Nevertheless, legislation is not law. So the common habit of using “law” and “legislation” as synonyms sows much confusion.
One confusion is the mistaken belief that all rules by which we humans live must be consciously created. If legislators are lawmakers, one strong suggestion is that we private citizens in the course of our daily lives have no role in making law. Any such input that we have in making law begins and ends with our occasional trips to polling places to vote on candidates for political office. We are merely to obey whatever rules are handed down by legislators, for without these so-called lawmakers our society would be lawless and hence hellish.