When I read Christine Flowers’ op-ed in the Herald yesterday supporting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ newly proposed rules on how to handle campus sexual assault allegations, I couldn’t help chuckling to myself.
It’s incredible how the Trump administration (and Republicans in general) have all of a sudden become the champions of due process rights and the “wrongly accused” in the aftermath of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. The fundamental importance of ensuring the due process rights of a person accused of wrongdoing appears to resonate with them with a newfound clarity now that they can picture an accusation actually affecting a member of their own family.
Don’t get me wrong. These new rules are good for criminal defense lawyers like me because they will now allow accused students to hire lawyers to represent them in the school disciplinary process.
But Trump and his acolytes’ moral indignancy it is a bit over the top. Especially for a man who, in 1989, paid for a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty after a group of black and Hispanic teenagers were arrested accused of raping and beating a woman in the Central Park Jogger case. Nevermind that all had their convictions overturned in 2002 after a prison inmate admitted that he was the one who attacked the jogger, and DNA evidence backed his confession. In typical Trumpian fashion, Trump did not apologize or show even a patina of contrition when the court overturned the five’s wrongful convictions in 2002 after they had spent years behind bars. In fact, as recently as October of 2016, in the final weeks of the presidential election, Trump doubled down telling CNN “