Admittedly, this simple formulation must be turned on its head by those who stand to gain the most by unfairness being justice. This is done at law all the time, rules written in coordination with lobbyists, made to preserve privilege, profit, protect the rights of the privileged, at the expense of those without privilege or power. It happens too regularly to need to give an example of. Call it unfair if you like, there is nothing you can do about it.
Fairness demands, to use a quaint phrase, that a victim who comes reluctantly forward, in terror, to publicly describe a traumatic assault by a nominee for high public office she identifies with absolute certainty as the perpetrator, and does so believably, be given a real opportunity to be heard. This would include, of course, testimony from witnesses who she says were present. The key to finding the truth in any he said/she said is corroboration. As long as no hint of corroboration is allowed, it’s always a draw. Every schoolyard bully knows this at age six. In he said/she said tie goes to the bully.
Justice, if you control the hearing, even with a one vote majority (especially with a one vote majority) demands that the other alleged perpetrator, an admitted former teenaged drunkard and self-described frustrated sex fiend NOT be allowed to testify. What could be gained, besides making our evasive choir boy look more dishonest than he already does, by putting an alcoholic, currently in hiding, a loose cannon with shaky credibility before the American people, on worldwide TV? Better, far better, to have that jerk’s lawyer write a sworn denial and spend millions on an ad campaign to convince the world, without ever saying the bitch accuser lied about anything– we’re very careful to say she was believable as hell — we give her full respect — we are powerful white men who always respect women, always — that our boy is of the highest moral character. Always was, always will be. Simple.
The same goes for the female friend who the victim says was at the gathering. She doesn’t remember the actual insignificant early evening hang out at a friend’s house when her friend was silently traumatized. She has no reason to recall that particular gathering. She heard no screams, obviously, since that would have been impossible with the attacker’s sweaty hand pressed over the victim’s mouth, but she can testify about the people involved, where they each lived. She believes her friend, as she stated, and she can tell us why.
Out of the question, obviously! This woman, if she is as credible as her friend, could do immense damage. Just by talking about other parties with drunk, entitled boys from Georgetown Prep, by letting any detail slip that might make her belief in her friend’s story more credible. It would be corroboration. No, no, a thousand times no!!!
That goes to for the FBI investigation too. Suppose the layout of Mark Judge’s house was identical to the one described in Blasey Ford’s testimony? The upstairs bathroom, directly across from the bedroom she was shoved into, door locked, in the moments before both drunken boys were laughing uncontrollably. Suppose that home was a short walk from the country club where the victim had practiced diving all day? A short walk from the club but too far from her own home to walk back. Well, there’s a line of inquiry the FBI will not be asking anyone about, clearly!
I heard Senator Susan Collins long speech yesterday, most of it, about why she is voting for Brett Kavanaugh. She spent a long time discussing specific cases where he appears to have ruled fairly, with integrity. She pointed out that in more than 90% of cases that he heard with Merrick Garland, the two ruled the same way. To me that pointed more to Obama’s attempt at fairness, nominating the conservative, yet non-ideological Garland, than to any impartiality on Kavanaugh’s part.
Collins eventually addressed the sexual assault allegations against the nominee. She said, along with all other Republicans who spoke on the matter, that she believed Christine Blasey Ford, but that, essentially, it makes no difference, since there was no corroboration and there’s a presumption of innocence, (particularly, one supposes, when a powerful man breaks down crying over and over and is clearly angry, defensive and on the attack.) Collins pretended, like all of her Republican colleagues, that this was a criminal trial rather than a hearing about the truthfulness and character of a nominee for one of the most powerful positions in our democracy. Since his guilt could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the single witness, he is presumed to be completely innocent, by Republicans. End of story, for the narrow Republican majority.
Senator Collins sounded very reasonable, very measured, as she spoke about the principles of fairness, due process, the presumption of innocence in our great democracy. To the uninformed, to the non-critical, she sounded very principled. She made her decision, ultimately, because her own party would destroy her if she voted the other way. Senator Lisa Murkowski was ready to take that risk, though in the end she got to oppose the nomination without actually voting against it. Her NO vote would have been meaningless in any case in a 50-48 vote. Collins was not ready to risk her political career, and explained why it was actually a matter of principle, rather lamely. The Democratic senator from West Virginia, where Trump won so handily in 2016, was not disposed to end his senatorial career by casting a principled vote defying the president’s will. The vacillating Jeff Flake revealed himself as the unprincipled man he is.
There you go, the Kochtopus rests its case, government is inherently corrupt, democracy is coercive and unfair to the wealthiest and most vulnerable to deprivation of liberty — don’t vote for any of these fucks, let us, the best and the brightest, take care of public policy.
Fairness is justice, except, of course, when it’s not, when higher principles than mere fairness are at stake. Principles like power, control, liberty. The liberty of the few, born booted and spurred (in the phrase the Author of Liberty borrowed from a man about to be hanged in England a century earlier) to ride the backs of the rest of you powerless motherfuckers must not be infringed. We, we powerless motherfuckers.