by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of altering its due-process standards is not headline news. That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of weakening its due-process standards is headline news for the ages. Once more, the line between parody and reality has been blurred.
The targets of the ACLU’s suit are the Department of Education; its secretary, Betsy DeVos; and its assistant secretary for civil rights, Kenneth Marcus. Their offense? To have made it easier for the accused to defend themselves. As NBC News explains, the changes that Secretary DeVos has spearheaded “effectively bolster the rights of due process for those accused of sexual assault and harassment, allowing for live hearings and cross-examinations” — two elementary provisions that, as NBC notes, were “lacking during the Obama administration to protect all students under Title IX.”
Which, per the ACLU, is a problem. DeVos’s changes, the group claims, will make “it more difficult for victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault to continue their educations and needlessly comes amid a global pandemic.”
Remind us again what the C and the L stand for?
Taken as a whole, the ACLU’s lawsuit provides a veritable master class in precisely the sort of non sequitur–laced thinking that the organization once existed to oppose. It conflates “accuser” with “victim” and thereby assumes guilt as the default position. It presents an emotionally charged list of the negative effects that crime has upon the victimized (“depression, anxiety, and suicidality”), as if this has any bearing on the question of guilt, and as if such consequences do not also attach to the falsely accused. It proposes that the mere existence of rigorous due-process standards represents a boon to criminals and a “gutting” of the attempt to fight depravity.