While all victims of sexual assault deserve justice, patience and compassion, there was simply no corroborating evidence to support the claims made against this good man. Our system of justice is founded upon the seminal idea that every accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the Article II "advice and consent" authority of the Senate was never meant to be weaponized for raw partisan purposes. Abandoning either of those foundational principles would create an unprecedented crisis for our republic, and for Americans of all political persuasions.
Our country is currently divided, seemingly as we have not been since the time of the Civil War. President Lincoln had the extraordinary responsibility of addressing the nation at the height of that crisis, at his First Inaugural in 1861. His words then echo down through the generations to us today:
"Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty. . . We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Let us hope we can still appeal to those better angels. We are working on that in the House, as more than 150 members, stalwarts from both sides of the aisle, have now signed on to my Commitment to Civility. We can and must disagree in an agreeable manner again, treat one another as fellow Americans, and temper our actions with wisdom, as a worthy example for our children and grandchildren. God help us if we cannot.
Congratulations to Justice Kavanaugh and his family on his well-deserved appointment that should be official in a few hours. I am convinced he will serve honorably, as exactly as the kind of jurist that our Founders envisioned.