DC Exclusives - Opinion

Will The Orgy Of Lawless Trial By Unproved Accusation End Before It Ends Our Liberty?

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The fallacious campaign to defame Roy Moore continues apace. Now comes a New York Daily News report claiming that “a retired Alabama policewoman said she was told to keep an eye on Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore because he was known to harass teenage cheerleaders at local school ball games in the 1980s.”  It goes on to say that “she was even informed that he had been suspended from Gadsden Mall because he would often target young female employees.”

The story goes on in this vein, all about what “we were told” and what “the rumor was.” However, as reported, her only references to her own factual experience consists in her reported statement that “Every day we were looking for a complaint to come in”, but “the department took no action against Moore because it never received complaints on the allegations. Moreover, the officer admits that “I had no idea that we were talking about 14 year olds.” This means that even the alleged rumors she heard contained nothing to corroborate the allegation of infamous crime that is the core of the slur campaign against Judge Moore. Yet the Daily News story takes pains to put her statements in the context of that unsupported allegation.

I doubt that anyone who has served as a prosecuting attorney has escaped being targeted by anonymous rumors and allegations intended to threaten and intimidate them. People who seek to enforce the law against criminal suspects are, by definition, often going up against lawless forces. Such forces are, also by definition, not averse to using whispered blackmail threats and character defamation to weaken a prosecutor’s resolve. Roy Moore is, of course, best known for the fact that even the actual deployment of actions intended to destroy his career and livelihood have never weakened his resolve to do right.

As reported, the veteran officer’s statements mainly confirm that Roy Moore had reason to develop his mental and spiritual toughness, in this respect, during his years as a deputy District Attorney. As reported, the officer’s statements also confirm that the rumors were never substantiated by the filing of any complaints against Moore, much less any actual trials of their validity.

So, like the three witnesses the original Washington Post story deceptively cited as if their statements corroborated Leigh Corfman’s derogatory accusation of infamous crime, the only facts the Daily News story reports confirm the impression that no hard evidence supports even the circumstantial allegation that the young Roy Moore engaged in a pattern of behavior consistent with the allegation of detestable criminal misconduct.

But all of us know, from our experience with this calumny campaign so far, that the police officer’s statement will now be lumped with the similarly non-corroborative statements of other alleged accusers to create the false impression of a “cloud of witnesses” substantiating Moore’s guilt. In fact, what we have so far is a shifty fog of false inferences, through which we nonetheless get glimpses of a consistent kernel of truth—i.e., that no tangible evidence actually substantiates the allegation against Roy Moore.

Of course, there’s the yearbook signature that Gloria Allred cited as proof of Roy Moore’s “inappropriate conduct” with the person she brought forward with an accusation of sexual misconduct that purportedly resembled Corfman’s allegation. (The statements of the three witnesses in the Washington Post story do not. They actually go to prove that Moore did not pursue or even express interest in sexual contact.)  But, like the details of Corfman’s account, the yearbook signature appears to be of questionable authenticity, an appearance aggravated by the fact that Allred refuses to submit the yearbook for physical examination, or even simply to state that, on account of her due diligence, she affirms the signature to be authentic.

Allred’s refusal gives off an odor of politically motivated duplicity, made more pungent by her statement that she will only release the yearbook to the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee for investigation. She has to know that the Senate Ethics Committee will only get involved if the election next month makes Roy Moore a U.S. Senator. Thus, it would seem that she is less interested in seeking truth for her client’s sake than in making some excuse in order to withhold hard evidence from scientific scrutiny until after the votes are cast.

All this actually illustrates the reasons why the first generation of Americans took pains to make due process of law a strict requirement under the Constitution. They knew what the whole record of human experience confirms: The competition for power drives justice and fair play from the field, in politics as in violent warfare. But the use and abuse of accusations to damage one’s opponent, without regard for the requirements of true judgment and fair play, also severely damages the rule of law. It falls into contempt as a transparent sham, liable at every moment to be undone for the sake of securing some advantage in the ceaseless battle for power.

The whole point of establishing regular courts of law is to subject opposing sides to the rule of reason, which is the ultimate paradigm for justice in action, which the rule of law is supposed to serve. These days, mainly for reasons of factional and ideological interest, some people pretend that “legalities” necessarily thwart justice for those without power. In fact, those with power have no need of legalities. The fact that they submit to them in our society is one of the blessings of liberty. It bids fair to be the most significant one, in terms of everyday life.

I have already written about how discarding the presumption of innocence for candidates undermines the sovereignty of the people who have chosen them as such. But all the components of due process also serve to require that justice and fair play be continually observed so that the laws do not deserve contempt. Such contempt, when justified by repeated abuses, discredits the rule of the people, even as it ought to discredit the rule of any and all forms of government. But like every other aspect of democratic self-government, the constitutional requirement of due process cannot survive unless, a individuals, people show the courage to do what is needed to demand and maintain it.

The only thing worse than courts misused by power is courts left unused from lack of courage. People whose fear keeps them from bringing their complaints to court are thus not only hurting themselves, they are severely weakening the body politic. They can also become prey to unscrupulous political manipulators, seeking to use them as weapons of political war, without regard for truth, justice or anything except the ambition for power. The alleged sexual abuse of underage children is a heinous crime against them. But the fallacious exploitation of its infamy for political warfare is also unconscionable.

This is especially so when it involves allegations unsupported by evidence. The appearance of contrivance undermines what ought to be our serious insistence that such cases be handled with scrupulous respect for the truth, whereby no one is presumed to be lying or exposed to character assassination by fallacious inferences of culpable misconduct. These should have no place — not in our elections, for use against candidates, and not for use against accusers in our courts of law. Due process is supposed to impose an impartial discipline, respecting the interests of truth and justice, so that both sides will be fairly heard, and their pleas be fairly judged in light of evidence carefully gathered and examined. But nothing about the disrespect of reason, fact and logic at work in the orgy of lawless trial by accusation presently ongoing in our country serves what ought to be, in this respect, our common good. We must end this abandonment of respect for the formal discipline of law, or it will surely help to end our exercise of rightful liberty.

Alan Keyes is a political activist, a prolific writer and a former diplomat.

Alan Keyes
the authorAlan Keyes
For a long while Alan Keyes has been involved in government, politics and citizen activism. He did service in government as a Foreign Service Officer, and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council, and later served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. He has been involved in politics, twice as a candidate for the United States Senate, and also as a participant in the GOP primaries for President of the United States. He is Christian, Catholic, Pro-life and pro-liberty. He is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and dedicated to preserving the the republican form of government it establishes. He upholds and seeks to reinvigorate the now beleaguered sovereignty of the American people, and to restore respect for the principles set forth in the American Declaration of Independence. In light of those principles, he believes that the top priority of our political life is to restore respect for the existence and authority of the Creator, God and on the basis of that respect rebuild the moral conscience and character without which the American people cannot hope to preserve their liberty.

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