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Sen. Hirono Doubles Down on No Presumption of Innocence for Kavanaugh: ‘We’re Not in a Court of Law’

Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) doubled-down today on her refusal to extend, or deem extended, the presumption of innocence to Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the matters of sexual assault with which he has been accused, most prominently by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Hirono refused to say that Kavanaugh deserves the same presumption of innocence as anyone else Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, who pressed hard on the question.

This morning on MSNBC, host Hallie Jackson, who framed the question as a quibble from “conservative circles”, asked only for “clarification”.

“[Jake Tapper] asked you, do you believe Brett Kavanaugh should deserve, or does deserve the same presumption of innocence. And your response was that you put his denial in the context of everything you know about him in terms of how he approaches cases,” said Jackson. “I’m sure you’re aware that in conservative circles, there is some outrage, some anger at your comment. It’s being interpreted as, because this is a conservative judge, you’re not, you’ve already sort of made your decision about him as it relates to these accusations.”

“Can you clarify what you meant?” asked Jackson. “Do you believe Judge Kavanaugh does deserve the presumption of innocence or not?”

“Look, we’re not in a court of law, we’re actually in a court of credibility at this point,” said Hirono. “Without having the FBI report or some semblance of trying to get corroboration, we are left with the credibility of the two witnesses.”

Hirono then essentially confirmed what Jackson said “conservative circles” were “interpreting” her comments to mean.

“His credibility is already questionable in my mind,” she said. “Because one he misstates cases, he misapplies cases. And as I said at his hearing, we cannot have somebody on the Supreme Court who does that, who doesn’t even get the basics of the law.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial, which in part criticized Hirono and others, and was the lead in to Tapper’s question on Sunday, argues that the process is presuming guilt. “This turns American justice and due process upside down. The core tenet of Anglo-American law is that the burden of proof always rests with the person making the accusation,” the editors wrote. “An accuser can’t doom someone’s freedom or career merely by making a charge.”

[Featured image via screengrab]

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