Impartiality of judge and jury is one of the cornerstones of our legal system. In a typical trial, the Judge is there to ensure that law and procedure are followed and the jury makes their decision based on the facts presented. Both are supposed to be “impartial” in that they do not have a personal tie to either the plaintiff or the defendant. That way they’re not tempted “to do my good friend over there a solid” or “now’s my chance to get even with that guy who cut me off.”
The judge and the jury, not personally connected to the case at hand are, therefore, supposed to be impartial. And when a potential juror is found to have a personal tie to the case, that juror is dismissed and replaced with someone who isn’t. When a judge has such a tie, the judge is expected to recuse him or her self and let another judge without such a tie preside over the case. I believe that’s required in lower courts. It’s more the “honor system” in the Supreme Court and there’s no way to enforce it if a judge refuses to act honorably in that instance.
This impartiality, this lack of personal connection to the case allowing the judge and jury to judge the law and the facts dispassionately is why justice is depicted as blind.
Nobody, however, expects the people who are connected to the case at hand to be impartial. We don’t expect the defendant to calmly and fairly consider the plaintiff’s case. And we are unsurprised when the defendant instead examines the plaintiff’s case solely for the purposes of rebutting it.
So it is with some, not surprise but dismay that I see people looking at Kavanaugh’s reactions to the calumnies levied against him, the threats against himself and his family (dammit, even if Kavanaugh were guilty of everything he’s accused of, how can any sane, decent individual even consider harassing his wife and children who had no part in any of that?) and saying “see? He’s not impartial.”
Of course he isn’t. He’s not a dispassionate observer. He’s the “defendant” in the issue. He is neither expected nor required to remain calm and unemotional when accused of vile crime after vile crime with absolutely zero evidence, with the suppsed witnesses to the event cited by the accuser basically saying, in sworn statements, that it did not happen.
He acts like an aggrieved individual falsely accused and that’s supposed to disqualify him? That’s not how it works. Kavanaugh is not a judge in this case. Indeed, because of his personal connection he would not be permitted to judge the case. No judge sits over his own trial.
This just goes to show that folk aren’t interested in even giving him a fair hearing. They are showboating for reasons that have nothing to do with law and justice and everything to do with partisan politics.