IN TIME, the rage and rancor of the Brett Kavanaugh fight will subside, as rage and rancor invariably do.
But the wounds of the last few weeks won't really heal. It's only a matter of time until a similarly bitter partisan fight erupts, and when it does we will sink to even deeper levels of spite and malice. The campaign to block Kavanaugh's confirmation went beyond anything we've seen in a Supreme Court confirmation battle, and the ugly recklessness of recent days will be back.
Of all the demons unleashed during the assault on Kavanaugh, perhaps the scariest was the casual repudiation of due process — the wholesale elevation of belief over facts as the yardstick by which accusations should be judged.
The sexual-assault allegations deployed at the last minute against Kavanaugh remain uncorroborated, yet their truth promptly became a matter of faith among many on the left. Though the charges were wholly inconsistent with the judge's longstanding reputation for rectitude, Democratic political leaders embraced them. "I believe you," Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal told Christine Blasey Ford when she appeared before the Judiciary Committee. "You are speaking truth," intoned Cory Booker. On Twitter and other social media, hashtag declarations of faith — #BelieveWomen and #BelieveSurvivors and #IBelieveChristine — mushroomed.
This is a free country, and people are free to believe anything they wish. But life in this country will grow steadily less free if fundamental elements of fairness, like the presumption of innocence, are simply jettisoned when an accusation is made by someone who says with seeming sincerity that she was sexually assaulted. . . .