It’s Time for Republicans to Show They Truly Care About Due Process

The Weekly Standard

It’s not just for Brett Kavanaugh. In October, Republican senators were the champions of due process. They argued that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh must be presumed innocent in the face of the uncorroborated sex-crime accusations that Democrats had rushed to endorse. Forty-nine Republicans (and one Democrat) then confirmed his nomination to the Supreme Court. “In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be,” said Maine’s Susan Collins on the Senate floor in the decisive speech of the confirmation […]

The ACLU’s J’Accuse

The Weekly Standard

The group comes out against equal treatment before the law. More than four years ago, 28 members of the Harvard Law School faculty publicly criticized the sexual-assault adjudication procedures adopted by the university under pressure from the Obama administration. They noted that these were “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.” The law professors, including some with stellar feminist credentials, said that the university’s goal should “be to fully address sexual harassment while at the same time protecting students against unfair and inappropriate discipline, honoring individual relationship autonomy, and maintaining the values of academic freedom.” Similar expressions of concern about the basic […]

Innocence Presumed

The Weekly Standard

Betsy DeVos undoes a major campus injustice. That campus Title IX sexual-misconduct tribunals are unfair to accused students is all but a truism. Since 2011, when the Obama administration forced a guilt-presuming reinterpretation of the 1972 law, more than 100 colleges and universities have been on the losing side in lawsuits filed by accused students protesting their treatment. The Department of Education is planning to issue new regulations addressing the relationship between Title IX and fair procedures in cases of alleged campus sexual assault. The draft regulations are still under review, but as reported in the New York Times, they […]

The Yale Rape Trial Isn’t Over Yet

The Weekly Standard

The March 7 acquittal by a New Haven jury of a suspended Yale student on charges of raping a classmate has been much lamented on campus and in the national media. But a review of the evidence shows that the trial was fair, the defense was ethical, and there was much more than a reasonable doubt about the accuser’s claim that she was so drunk as to lack the capacity to consent. The facts of this he-said, she-said case are that Saifullah Khan, a then-22-year-old Yale senior, and his accuser, also a senior, had Halloween dinner together at the dorm’s […]

Discredited Sex Assault Research Infects U.S. Legal System

Real Clear Politics

When a toxin enters a biological ecosystem, its effect is magnified as it moves up the food chain. Even if it can be cut off at the source, the ever-widening distribution of its increasingly harmful form can cause problems for decades. Misinformation functions in a similar fashion, gaining traction as it’s repeated by increasingly high-profile individuals who venture ever further from the source material. In this manner, distortion about the facts of sexual assault has affected the training of judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials. It is how misleading assertions become embedded in criminal and military law. This is […]

End the Bias in Campus Sexual-Misconduct Tribunals

Real Clear Politics

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her advisers have made a remarkably good start at ending the Obama administration’s abuse of federal regulatory power to attack the due-process rights of university students accused of sexual assault. But the more important task—the crafting of Title IX regulations to ensure fair treatment for both parties in campus cases—is ahead. Last September, DeVos publicly called for fairness to both sides in campus adjudications. About two weeks later, the Education Department withdrew the Title IX “guidance” that the Obama administration had imposed to specify guilt-presuming procedures for the nation’s colleges and universities to use. DeVos has also ended […]

The Title IX Training Travesty

The Weekly Standard

In November 2014, a female member of Brown University’s debate team had oral sex with a male colleague while they watched a movie. Eleven months later, she filed a complaint with Brown, accusing him of sexual assault. Both parties in the case had credibility issues; he had violated a no-contact order, she had withheld from the university the bulk of their text messages. But the accused student possessed strong exculpatory evidence. He produced the full record of their communications, which included texts from the accuser to him discussing the encounter in a highly positive fashion and referencing a “plan” to […]

What Betsy DeVos Gets Right About Campus Sexual Assault

Time

On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took on one of former President Barack Obama’s most controversial regulatory actions: a set of 2011 campus disciplinary procedures for students accused of sexual assault. Arguing that victims of assault were being denied justice, the Obama White House weakened traditional protections for the accused, like presumption of innocence and the right to cross-examine an accuser. DeVos, in a speech at George Mason University, said the system “is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.” Not surprisingly, DeVos was […]

Overruled

The Weekly Standard

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on September 22 formally rescinded the Obama administration’s commands that universities use unfair rules in sexual-misconduct investigations—rules that had the effect of finding more students guilty of sexual assault. And she appears also to be preparing for far more forceful due-process protections down the road. Those follow-on regulations could require schools to presume that accused students are innocent unless proven guilty, to allow rigorous cross-examination of accusers, and perhaps also to grant the accused the unqualified right to appeal adverse decisions, and more. Meanwhile, the modest improvements that DeVos included in the “interim guidance” of September […]

DeVos Pledges to Restore Due Process

Wall Street Journal

The Obama Education Department’s Title IX decree ‘failed too many students,’ she says. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made clear her intention to correct one of the Obama administration’s worst excesses—its unjust rules governing sexual misconduct on college campuses. In a forceful speech Thursday at Virginia’s George Mason University, Mrs. DeVos said that “one rape is one too many”—but also that “one person denied due process is one too many.” Mrs. DeVos declared that “every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.” This might seem like an obvious affirmation of fundamental American principles. But such sentiments were […]