Local View: 'Guilt by accusation:' yeah, the Nazis used that, too
During the past two or three decades I have increasingly felt there are forces right here in the United States that want a totalitarian country. The current huge flap over the single and unsupported sexual accusation against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh finally convinces me that my fears are true.
Large numbers of public people, including members of Congress who all have taken oaths to preserve and protect our precious Constitution, are proclaiming a new legal principle: guilt by accusation.
This is precisely the theory that justified the Nazi and Soviet murders of scores of millions of perfectly innocent people (and by lesser despots). Everybody in the entire world should greatly fear this.
I think the real reason why so much importance is put on single appointments to the Supreme Court is precisely because a single vote can effectively change our Constitution, which was never the original intent. From the first days after its ratification, smart lawyers have sought and made good livings carving out special exceptions for their clients. The result is today called "constitutional law," and that is what was taught in my law school, not the Constitution. I had to buy outside books to learn about the actual Constitution.
Our Constitution from the beginning generally has kept us safe from the excesses of our government. A few crooks oppressed people in violation and some wound up in jail. (All risked it.)
Our Constitution helped trigger the French revolution, which went badly. Despots claimed parts of it to fool their own people, such as the Soviet Union and Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam. But there was always fine print.
Despots hate our Constitution. It is a bad example for them. It is precious for us and all humanity.
All advocates of "guilt by accusation" should forever be disqualified to serve on a jury or any elective office.
William Rees of Duluth was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, now retired.