In politics, personal biases blind us to rule of law

In politics, personal biases blind us to rule of law
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A few weeks ago, FBI agent Peter Strzok testified before two House Committees. It was one for the books, the “here’s what not to do if you’re an elected official” kind. Whatever your feelings may be about the FBI or the Mueller investigation or the Hillary Clinton email investigation (full disclosure: I’m a former Clinton campaign staffer), it is undeniable that Strzok strongly disliked then-candidate Donald Trump and displayed a political preference for Clinton.

While I have made great strides in breaking out of my liberal bubble since 2016, I found myself asking my Flip Side co-editor at 3 a.m., “I don’t see it. Sure, his texts were ill-advised, but can anyone point to any explicit wrongdoing on his part? Why are we so focused on his words and not his actions?” He replied, “I think you would feel differently if it were President Obama instead of President Trump.”

Less than a week later, following the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the political tables had turned. Citing a 2009 article in which Kavanaugh argued that indicting a sitting president “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis,” Democrats claimed his view on the issue is clearly prejudiced and, should such a case come before the Supreme Court, he cannot be trusted to rule objectively. Republicans, by contrast, cautioned against the idea that Kavanaugh’s personal beliefs would impact his ruling.

Some on the left went so far as to argue, “Without an absolute and unequivocal commitment to recuse from any deliberations involving Trump’s alleged wrongdoing, which no one expects Kavanaugh to make, this nomination cannot possibly be seen by Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, as a credible choice to serve on the Supreme Court.” Those on the right responded, “Read any of the more than 300 cases that Kavanaugh has decided and the judge consistently strives to interpret the law as it is written, not as…

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