The Star Tribune Editorial Board is calling on the FBI to “reopen” its background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexual assault, but previously warned Minnesotans against “instantly believing” Democrat Keith Ellison’s accusers.
“In light of Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her while the two were in high school it is entirely appropriate for the agency to perform additional checks,” a Wednesday editorial argues, saying it “should not be considered an extraordinary measure.”
The editorial goes on to hint at opening up an FBI investigation into the allegation against Kavanaugh, saying that without it a “hearing would become little more than a perfunctory speed bump, in which Senate Republicans would bring in a thoroughly prepped Kavanaugh while giving Ford and her allegations minimal consideration.”
The Wednesday editorial is the third that The Star Tribune Editorial Board has published on Kavanaugh, two of which focus on the sexual-assault allegation, but the Board has published only one on the allegations against Ellison, and it mostly focuses on the limitations of the “#MeToo movement.”
In an August 20 editorial, the Board applauds the “#MeToo movement” as an “important development,” but claims “there is danger here, too.”
“It comes in making the quantum leap from listening, to instantly believing. This has been brought home to Minnesotans in the campaign of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, now the DFL-endorsed candidate for state attorney general,” the editorial states, urging Ellison’s accuser to release the video she claims to have of the incident or else be “found in a lie.”
“This country cannot afford to go back to a time when women’s accusations were too often discounted. This moment has been too long in coming. But neither should Americans entirely jettison what has been the standard for jurisprudence in this country since its inception: that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and that the burden for that proof lies with the accuser,” the editorial continues.
It then praises Ellison’s daughter for writing “eloquently” about the “opposing forces in this ugly episode,” concluding by requesting “additional information.”
Since the allegations against Ellison first went public, his accuser has produced a medical record showing that she discussed the abuse with a doctor in 2017, and claims that she has been “smeared, threatened, and isolated” by her “own party.” Records from a 2005 911 call have also resurfaced, showing that Ellison was reported for allegedly abusing another woman.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board has yet to discuss any of these new developments, but is now calling on Kavanaugh to “welcome the additional scrutiny.”
“It would show that he is unafraid to face whatever findings are uncovered and, if there’s nothing to Ford’s allegation, allow him to take his seat on the court without suspicion hanging over his confirmation,” the Wednesday editorial concludes. “That kind of courage and integrity should be requisite in a Supreme Court justice.”
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