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October 29, 2004

Benefit of the Doubt

Think about the concept. In criminal law, reasonable doubts are supposed to be resolved in favor of (i.e., to the benefit of) the defendant. Liberals insist on this and would howl with rage if it weren’t complied with. But if criminal defendants deserve the benefit of the doubt, why doesn’t the president of the United States? It’s worse than a double standard. It’s an absurdity and an injustice.

Not only has President Bush not been given the benefit of the doubt by his critics. They have turned doubt into certitude. If it’s not clear whether President Bush acted rightly, he acted wrongly. Critics impute the worst motives to the president. They say that he lied instead of that he misrepresented the facts, when lying is merely a particular type or species of misrepresentation accompanied by, among other things, the intention to deceive. President Bush is expected to be omnipotent and omniscient. If something goes wrong, it’s his fault. No inquiry is made into his actual mental state or into whether he controlled the situation. You wouldn’t want to be held to such a strict standard. Why would you hold someone else, including the president, to such a standard? In criminal cases, there is a presumption of innocence. President Bush is presumed by his critics to be guilty.

Keith Burgess-Jackson is always making sense.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 10:31 PM | Permalink


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