Principled Constitutionalists Would Deny Biden the Presumption of Innocence

Joe Biden is a professional creep. He has spent his 50 years as a “public servant” sniffing women, groping women, fondling them, “massaging” them from behind, rubbing against them, kissing them, and touching them. Thirty seconds on Google will turn up any number of photos and videos of Biden forcing himself into the personal space of numerous women, to hand-deliver his personal brand of hands-on “retail politicking” and “Biden empathy.” In those photos and videos, none of the recipients of that “empathy” look particularly thrilled to be on the receiving end of it. 

Some look surprised to discover Biden’s hands roaming all over them, some look resigned, some look creeped out. But at least the adult women are there for a purpose—they are usually Democrats, and they know what they signed up for in getting close to Biden. If these grown women made a Faustian bargain with the devil to promote their own political agendas and advance their own or their husband’s political careers by being in the same room or convention hall as Joe Biden, and the devil’s due is a little more than they expected to pay—well, c’est la vie. That’s why they call them “Faustian bargains.”

But, of course, it’s not just adult women. While Biden would never turn down a chance to fondle and grope somebody’s wife or mother, he is an equal opportunity groper who is always on the lookout for some younger meat. There are photos of him giving the Biden treatment to teenage girls—all on camera. The young girls look surprised, but perhaps their Democrat parents would later explain to them that they need to focus on the larger picture—and Creepy Uncle Joe, after all,  is “one of the good guys.”

Occasionally, Biden can’t get close enough to the pubescent girl he wants to fondle—in which case he doesn’t hesitate to offer her advice on whom and when she should date. Family members of the young girl, such as her brothers, also might get a Biden lecture about their supervisory responsibilities with regard to her dating life. One can only imagine what goes through their minds when an addled 77-year-old man they just met starts lecturing them about their sister’s dating options. In the absence of a nearby family member, Biden might take an opportunity to closely examine the breasts of the teenage girl in front of him, offering helpful commentary on their size and shape.

Biden long ago made peace with the fact that, given who he is, the camera is usually there to record what he is doing. Republican politicians with similar inclinations are forced, at a minimum, to practice their proclivities out of the view of the cameras, if they want to survive. Not Biden. Biden is never camera-shy when it comes to his own predilections.

Believe This Woman

So when Tara Reade came forward with her story recently, after telling at least five people contemporaneously, that Senator Joe Biden, then her boss, pinned her against the wall, shoved a hand up her skirt, and pushed his fingers into her vagina, she was not speaking in a vacuum. She was not accusing a man who, until that moment, had not a whisper of impropriety associated with him. She was not accusing a man whose interactions with women are known to be nothing but exemplary. 

Reade is accusing a man who has been doing similar things his entire adult life—sometimes a little more forcefully, sometimes a little less, sometimes more overtly, sometimes not. Biden’s pattern of objectifying the women and young girls around him, and letting his fingers do the real talking, is as old as his political career. The terminology may have changed—we probably wouldn’t have called it “sexual assault” in 1993—but in the big picture, this isn’t anything Biden hasn’t been doing since forever.

Under the Biden approach, Biden himself is entitled to all the due process and presumptions, but no one else is. It should be the other way around.

I personally believe Tara Reade. I personally believe that Joe Biden did pretty much what she says he did back in 1993, because he’s made a career of doing things of this nature. There is nothing difficult here—why is it so hard for some people to accept that an aberrantly creepy old guy, who feels entitled to grope and fondle any woman who comes within his wingspan, did it in that particular instance in 1993 as well?

Can I prove it in a court of law? No, and it isn’t my job to prove it in court. Do I have enough evidence to convince a jury (or anyone else) beyond a reasonable doubt that Biden committed these acts? No, but the matter hasn’t been investigated and litigated—yet. Would a jury convict Biden, if some intrepid prosecutor decided to pursue this as a criminal case? (Never mind the statute of limitations.) I don’t know. 

Given the shifting prosecutorial standards, perhaps they would—Harvey Weinstein, a royal jackass and an all-around awful person, was convicted of rape, despite a very weak case, much documentary evidence to the contrary (recall all those “I can’t wait to see you again” emails to Weinstein from his “victims”), and “victims” who in all likelihood—let’s be honest with ourselves—were in transactional sexual relationships with him. Here, it’s important to remember that Weinstein wasn’t charged with being a continental-sized asshole (which isn’t a crime, not even in the state of New York)—he was on trial for rape.

But given what I have seen of the Reade allegations, and given what we know about Biden himself, I have sufficient reason to believe Biden did what he is accused of doing. Certainly, under the “more likely than not” standard, there is enough there. Biden’s own behavior isn’t helping him—he hid in his basement for five weeks, then mumbled incoherent and utterly unpersuasive denials on “Morning Joe” on May 1, then pivoted to more incoherent and unpersuasive denials on “Good Morning America” on May 12:

I think women should be believed. They should have an opportunity to have their case and stated, just forthrightly, what their case is, and it’s the responsibility of responsible journalists like you and everyone else to go out and investigate those. The end of the day, the truth is the truth. That’s what should prevail. The truth is, this never happened. This never happened. I assure you, that’s the truth.

In other words, Biden sure is acting like he’s guilty. 

What About Due Process?

And here we come to a dilemma that some conservatives (and many constitutionalists) struggle with, despite themselves. Sure, they say, Biden is a despicable, corrupt, duplicitous, amoral, vicious, lying opportunist, who doesn’t mean a word he says about how much he cares about women’s rights. Sure, Gropey Joe’s long history of “handsiness” (as his apologists call his public groping and fondling of women on camera) is revolting. Sure, Biden is a slithering snake who would sell his mother for the slightest political gain. 

But still, say some conservatives (e.g., Dan McLaughlin), isn’t Biden entitled to that hallowed presumption of innocence, just like every other American? Isn’t he entitled to all that 14th Amendment due process, before we reach any conclusions about criminal behavior? Before we call Biden a sex offender, shouldn’t we give him an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against him, to call witnesses of his own, to examine the evidence against him? Aren’t we starting down the proverbial slippery slope? If we conclude that Biden is guilty before he gets his due process, won’t they be emboldened to come for us? Aren’t we—God forbid!—jumping the gun here on Biden’s guilt?

No. We aren’t. 

Joe Biden is the one exception to the rule. Joe Biden is the one man for whom there is no slippery slope. With Biden—specifically Biden—any principled constitutionalist can conclude that Biden is guilty of the acts he is accused of, and still feel that their constitutional principles are intact. Because Biden—specifically Biden—has waived any claim to the ancient principle of innocent until proven guilty and to any due process.

Biden now demands that he be treated like any other American accused of something unsavory. But Biden was the brains behind the Title IX college campus kangaroo courts. (And I use the term “brains” very loosely here—given his increasingly obvious mental impairment, no one would accuse Biden of being the brains behind anything today. But a decade ago, he could at least remember the name of his boss, where he was, and which job he was holding). 

Biden has always supported these lawless caricatures of campus tribunals, where the investigator, prosecutor, judge, and jury consists of a single hard-left college bureaucrat, the accused is given no access to evidence, no right to counsel, no opportunity to present his case or to bring witnesses that might exonerate him, and no opportunity to present or cross-examine witnesses, much less the accuser. 

Biden is a lawyer by education (and, if you believe his claims, a minimally competent one)—he is surely under no illusions as to the lawless, anti-constitutional nature of the regime he demanded for thousands of young men whose futures were sacrificed on the altar of leftist politics.

The process of junking the kangaroo courts moved another step in the right direction recently when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (herself an object of raw progressive hatred) published new rules for Title IX adjudications. Progressives were enraged that under the new rules, to take effect in August, the innocent will actually have some mechanisms for proving their innocence. 

Biden, sitting in his basement and tweeting out sporadic criticisms of this or that action of the Trump Administration, was also enraged. The idea of due process and even theoretical innocence, to Biden, was abhorrent. Biden promised that DeVos’s rule changes “will be put to a quick end in January 2021, because as president, I’ll be right where I always have been throughout my career—on the side of survivors, who deserve to have their voices heard, their claims taken seriously and investigated, and their rights upheld.” 

In other words—under the Biden approach, Biden himself is entitled to all the due process and presumptions, but no one else is.

It should be the other way around. We, the people, should not have to suffer because neurons in former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s brain are misfiring in an anti-constitutional manner. Biden—and only Biden—should be the one who has to live with his ideas.

An Old Concept for Present Circumstances

Courts recognize the concept of estoppel—having once taken an affirmative position in a legal proceeding, you are then in no position to argue the opposite. By concocting a North Korea-like regime for “investigating” campus sexual complaints, and by promising to reinstate the Title IX kangaroo courts the minute he gets a chance, Biden has estopped himself from arguing that he is entitled to due process or the presumption of innocence. 

Title IX is not the only place where Biden made his views known. There were also the Clarence Thomas and, more recently, Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. One can choose to believe Christine Blasey Ford or one can choose not to believe her, but even her supporters admit through clenched teeth that Ford’s allegations had not one milligram of supporting evidence. Yet, famously, Biden said about Blasey Ford that we should “start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts.” Notice that Biden is speaking in legal terms here—he is deliberately not applying that inconvenient presumption of innocence. The Biden presumption is “the essence” is real.

I agree with Biden. We should apply that presumption. But not to us, or to the country. We should apply it to him. 

Much has been said of the hypocrisy of those who ranted and raved during the Kavanaugh hearings but have kept their silence on the Reade allegations. Ninety-five Hollywood celebrities who were in our collective face in 2018, demanding we believe Christine Blasey Ford, have nothing to say now. Reese Witherspoon, Bette Midler, Alyssa Milano, Jessica Chastain . . . the list of celebrity women’s advocates who suddenly can’t find it in themselves to speak up for Tara Reade goes on and on. 

Naturally, it does not surprise conservatives that the Left has flexible principles that apply differently to Democrats than they do to Republicans. But aren’t we better than them? Alan Dershowitz argues that a principle is only a principle if one is willing to apply it equally to both friends and enemies. 

Fortunately, in the case of Biden, we can keep our principles intact. A principled conservative (and I count myself among them) and a constitutionalist can safely deny Biden the presumption of innocence because Biden has waived his right to that presumption, and is now estopped from reclaiming it. I am not losing sleep over any of it, or over any unfairness to Biden—and neither should you.

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About George S. Bardmesser

George S. Bardmesser is an attorney in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area. He is the author of Future Shot and Distance to Target, as well as a contributor to The Federalist and American Greatness. He is sometimes heard on the "Inside Track" radio show on KVOI in Tucson, Arizona, and sometimes seen discussing politics (in Russian) on New York’s American-Russian TV channel RTVi and the Two Cats Video Productions politics podcast.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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