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So rich, preppie, Brett Kavanaugh is now a wrongly accused black man. Of course.

So rich, preppie, Brett Kavanaugh is now a wrongly accused black man. Of course.

by digby


Rich Lowry:

A refresher on the story: It is told from the perspective of a young girl, Scout, who is the daughter of a small-town lawyer named Atticus Finch (played by Peck in the movie). The setting is Depression-era Alabama. Finch is unpopular in town because he has decided to take on the defense of a black man named Tom Robinson who is accused of rape by a young white woman.

And this is where the story, in contemporary terms, goes off the rails. Atticus Finch didn’t #BelieveAllWomen. He didn’t take an accusation at face value. He defended an alleged rapist, vigorously and unremittingly, making use of every opportunity provided to him by the norms of the Anglo-American system of justice. He did it despite considerable social pressure to simply believe the accuser.

In a gripping courtroom scene, Finch cross-examines Mayella Ewell, the 19-year-old daughter of an abusive drunk from a dirt-poor family who is Robinson’s accuser. With all the vehemence and emotion she can muster, Ewell insists that Robinson attacked her after she got him to break up a piece of old furniture at her house.

Without mercy, Finch takes apart her account. In contemporary internet argot, he “destroys” her. He brushes right by her tears. He doesn’t care about her feelings, only the facts. He exposes contradictions in her story and shreds her credibility, especially with the dramatic revelation that Robinson doesn’t have use of his left arm when he stands up at the defense table (he is alleged to have hit her with his left hand).

It is revealed that Ewell is lying. She had made an advance on Robinson and gotten caught by her vicious, racist father. The charge of rape against Robinson was a cover story, although the bigoted jury convicts him anyway.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” stands firmly for the proposition that an accusation can be false, that unpopular defendants presumed guilty must and should be defended, and that it is admirable and brave to withstand the crowd -- at times in the story, literally the lynch mob -- when it wants to cast aside the normal protections of justice.

Exactly what has made Atticus Finch such an honored figure in our culture would make him a very inconvenient man at many college campuses today, where charges of sexual misconduct are adjudicated without the accused being allowed to confront the accuser or make use of other key features of our system of justice. Finch is a rebuke to the shift from a presumption of innocence toward a presumption of guilt that now attends accusations of sexual harassment and assault. He didn’t believe that someone being accused of something is enough to establish his wrongdoing, or accept that a category of people were, by definition, to be under a pall of suspicion.


Are you getting the message girls? These people think any woman who comes forward to report a rape must be destroyed. They must. Because if you can conflate Tom Robinson of To Kill A Mockingbird with the antics of the drunken pigs at Georgetown Prep who slandered a girl named Renate as their personal pass-around pack in their yearbook --- and are now having a hysterical fit that anyone would think such a despicable jerk shouldn't be given a promotion from federal appeals court to the Supreme Court --- there's little doubt about how much they hate us.

And, by the way, conservative white women, then and today, have been willing collaborators. There's plenty o,f just plain cruelty among them, and tribalism is a powerful drug. But in conservative circles, there's just no margin making daddy mad.