In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support

For those who are football fans, this past NFL postseason produced perhaps the most infamous blown call in the history of the league. Late in the NFC championship game, when the New Orleans Saints were about to put away the Los Angeles Rams, a Rams player committed a blatant foul right in front of the official. Inexplicably, the penalty was ignored and the Rams went on to win the game.

Afterward, Rams fans in taverns and on talk radio shows across the country shared some of the most convoluted forms of reasoning to justify their team’s place in the upcoming Super Bowl. There was no justification. The Rams didn’t belong. But their team had won, and many Rams  fans were willing to defend the indefensible.


With that story of blind team support as a backdrop, let’s examine the current events and public reactions to them in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

To catch you up on the latest story line of the Virginia political soap opera, “Days of Our Democrats,” things started to go badly when Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam made remarks on Jan. 30 while defending the Repeal Act, legislation proposed to remove restrictions on late-term abortions. His remarks created the impression the governor condoned the extermination of babies delivered live during an abortion.

A couple of days later — purely by coincidence, I’m sure — Big League Politics published a photo from Northam’s yearbook page in the 1980s showing two men, one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan garb. Not long after, Virginia’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he wore blackface to a college party in 1980. What could be worse than two prominent members of Team Left being accused of racist acts … by their teammates? Perhaps only allegations of sexual assault.

A cynic might believe the emergence of such claims against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax were no coincidence but, rather, a deliberate act to divert attention from the other scandal. Whether the timing is coincidence or not, two women have stepped forth with allegations against Fairfax, who has publicly denied their claims.  

The first of these was Vanessa Tyson, who claims Fairfax assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 when he worked on the presidential campaign of then-Sen. John KerryJohn KerryUN: Emission reduction plans 'fall far short' Climate change rears its ugly head, but Biden steps up to fight it Recapturing the spirit of Bretton Woods MORE. The second accuser, Meredith Watson, alleges that assaulted her in 2000 while they were students at Duke University.

In 2018, the single issue that defined my year politically was the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE. I wrote opinion pieces, appeared in interviews and worked behind the scenes to try to shore up votes in support of the besieged nominee.

You see, Kavanaugh was nominated by a president I support, and he seemed to share my beliefs in jurisprudence, judicial restraint and original intent as codified in the Constitution. Kavanaugh was on “my team,” in a manner of speaking, and I was determined to support him. I also was determined to defend him when allegations of sexual misconduct from his high school years surfaced against him from Christine Blasey Ford, and then other women.

Fairfax is not on my team, so it is not necessarily politically expedient for me to defend him. Nevertheless, I will.  

I have written recently about the respect I have developed for Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat and 2016 Clinton supporter. He has been outspoken about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s Russia-collusion investigation and the weaponizing of our political and legal processes to attack President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE. Dershowitz has taken a beating from those on the left who are willing to forsake integrity and honesty to fell Trump. To them, as with the Rams fans, the end justify the means.

Dershowitz should inspire us to place principles before personality, and certainly before politics.  Fairfax is entitled to a presumption of innocence, to due process — the same things I was pounding on my keyboard and raising my voice to make sure that Justice Kavanaugh received.

As a nation that aspires to decency, we cannot permit ourselves to apply the law or justice selectively. If I want to try to defeat Fairfax, based upon his belief system and policies, then I must confront him in the public square and convince others my ideas are right. I cannot try to take advantage of any allegation, especially one raised in a moment of great political import.

I want those who share my political outlook to win in Virginia. I want Republican candidates to win everywhere, but not like this. I want them to win with ideals, not with allegations.

I am calling on every conservative who has been using social (and other) media to attack Justin Fairfax to stand down. Wait for the facts to emerge. Embrace your inner Dershowitz and allow due process to take its course.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that aims to educate students on free-market values. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieKirk11.