Rep. Speier on the Law, Due Process, & Surveys

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) is hardly a minor player on issues of campus due process: she’s the lead sponsor of the House bill to codify as law the Obama-era Title IX guidelines. So it might be assumed that, at the least, she’s well-informed about the issue.

That assumption would be a mistake.

Here are some clips from Speier, compiled from two relatively brief periods of her questioning (mostly) Candice Jackson, at this week’s House task force on campus sexual assault hearing.

Speier doesn’t like the idea of a campus system in which the accuser can be cross-examined. To bolster her case, she inaccurately claims that rape shield laws prevent a defendant from cross-examining his accuser. (They don’t.)

After her inaccurate description of rape shield law, Speier asserts, even more oddly, allowing only the accused party to appeal “is not part of our judicial system.”

Speier believes that the preferred Obama-era research showed that the false report rate for rapes is between 3 and 8 percent. (Depending on the document, it’s either 2-8, or 2-10.) Far more troublingly, the congresswoman believes that all reports not deemed false–a tally that includes unfounded/baseless, inconclusive, or simply ambiguous cases–are “totally true.”

When FIRE’s Joe Cohn attempted to explain her misinterpretation of the surveys, Speier wanted to move along.

Finally, a remarkable exchange between Jackson and Speier, as Speier claimed that OCR’s current emphasis on ensuring that both sides are treated fairly, and the accused is presumed innocent, constitutes “special rights” for the accused. Jackson responded forcefully.

Again: these misstatements come from a key player in House Democrats’ response to campus sexual assault.


2 thoughts on “Rep. Speier on the Law, Due Process, & Surveys

  1. Joe Cohn was right on point; perhaps it is not surprising that Rep. Speier wanted to move on. The only thing I would like to add is that there are also cases that are partially true: a person is assaulted but incorrectly identifies his or her assaulter. The incident at Boston College earlier this year falls into that category. Our criminal justice system has produced several noteworthy cases, for example Steven Avery/Penny Beerntsen and Timothy Cole.

  2. Due process is not a special right; David French said on twitter that, “Protecting due process is the opposite of authoritarianism. Campus kangaroo courts violate fundamental rights.”

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