Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Burden of Proof

I’ve watched enough episodes of Law & Order to get the concept of burden of proof. It means that if a person who has evidence refuses to produce it, the presumption is that the evidence would be against them. It’s called “missing evidence.”

That’s why Sen. Harry Reid’s calling out Mitt Romney on his tax returns is getting the Romney campaign and the right wingers all twitterpated. The burden of proof is not on Mr. Reid; he doesn’t have control of the evidence, so he’s not the one who has to provide it. Mr. Romney, on the other hand, does have the evidence. All he has to do is provide it and prove that Harry Reid is lying.

It’s his move, and it’s obvious that he’s not going to make it. Otherwise, all those defenders of his, including the ones calling Mr. Reid a “dirty liar,” are going to look rather foolish if Mr. Romney decides to release some of his returns in order to prove Mr. Reid wrong.

HT to digby.

PS: As digby notes, it’s amusing to hear the Republicans complain about unnamed sources and hearsay evidence. It was good enough for them to take the case to the special prosecutor when Bill Clinton said he did not have sexual relations with that woman.