Whenever somebody joins the Libertarian Party, they first thing they are asked to do is to check the box next to these words: “I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.” This is often called the non-aggression principle. Libertarians are unalterably opposed to using force or fraud in personal relationships, or to prevail in disputes. Sexual assault is near the top of anyone’s list of prohibited initiations of force. Unlike Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians take it a step further. We oppose electing or appointing politicians, bureaucrats, or judges whose policies and decisions will hurt people or take from them through war, government-run welfare, crony capitalism, and consensual crime laws.
On Sept. 27, the contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh took an ugly turn when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford credibly testified that she had been sexually assaulted by the nominee. Ford was a reluctant witness. She had originally described her experience, allegedly at the hands of Kavanaugh, in a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She requested the letter be kept confidential. Feinstein sat on the letter until after the hearings had ended, then announced she had it. The letter was leaked. When Ford found herself hounded by reporters at her home and at work, she finally agreed to testify. Kavanaugh strenuously denied all charges. Predictably, belief in each side split along party lines.
Well before these serious charges, Libertarians have condemned the nomination of Kavanaugh from day one.
“Unfortunately, Brett Kavanaugh has a troubling track record of giving a pass to excesses in the war on terrorism,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark on the day of the announcement. “It’s good that he’s a Second Amendment supporter, but it’s unacceptable that he’s also willing to suspend the Fourth and Fifth Amendments when he deems it necessary.”
For instance, when Amir Mohamed Meshal, a natural-born citizen of the United States, fled from Somalia’s civil war into Kenya in 2007, he was captured by the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force. The American Civil Liberties Union complaint filed on his behalf claimed that Meshal was “interrogated more than thirty times by U.S. officials who failed to adhere to the most elementary requirements of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991,” and that “U.S. officials repeatedly threatened Mr. Meshal with torture, forced disappearance, and other serious harm.”
Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion in Meshal v. Higginbotham, which said that although Meshal’s allegations were “quite troubling,” he had no standing to pursue claims that his constitutional rights were violated because he was overseas when it happened, and part of a terrorism investigation.
“Matters touching on national security and foreign policy fall within an area of executive action where courts hesitate to intrude absent congressional authorization,” wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown in her decision, with which Kavanaugh concurred.
“If the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 does not constitute ‘congressional authorization,’ I don’t know what would,” Sarwark said.
Also troubling is Kavanaugh’s professed deference to judicial precedence. It’s unlikely he would vote to overturn the Slaughter-House Cases of 1873, which created a privately owned butcher monopoly in New Orleans and have been used to justify crony capitalism ever since. He certainly won’t vote to overturn the Gold Clause Cases from the 1930s, which effectively changed the constitutional definition of money from gold and silver to paper and have enabled inflationary monetary policy ever since. Unlimited quantities of newly minted Federal Reserve money have made it easy for the federal government to wage undeclared wars from the Korean War era until today’s endless Middle East wars. It’s doubtful that Kavanaugh will vote to shift war-making powers from the executive branch back to Congress. He claims to be an originalist in his interpretation of the Constitution, but he’s not.
Libertarians applaud the success of the #MeToo movement in emboldening the victims of sexual assault and abuse to name their assailants. Comedian Bill Cosby has been sentenced to prison for one of many rape accusations. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is now confined to New York and Connecticut, and faces life in prison. Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly have been fired from Fox News. Al Franken resigned from the Senate. Les Moonves and Charlie Rose were fired from CBS. Matt Lauer was fired from NBC. Even Garrison Keillor was dropped by Minnesota Public Radio. There are only a few high-profile examples out of many.
Approximately 800 Libertarians are running for local, state, and national office this year. All of them can be counted upon to be vigilant in safeguarding Americans from force — including sexual assault — and from fraud at the hands of criminals both in the private sector and in government.