Miltenberg: “Biden’s Pushing Ahead to the Obama Past on Campus Rape. He’ll Need Good Luck With That,” RealClearInvestigations


Earlier this year, President Trump’s often embattled Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, established new rules on handling sexual assaults on campus to strengthen protections for accused students, almost all of them men. Joe Biden, who was the Obama administration’s point man for the policies DeVos upended, has made his displeasure clear. “The Trump Administration’s Education Department … is trying to shame and silence survivors,” the Biden campaign platform declared. “Instead of protecting women,” it has “given colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their civil rights.” … In developments barely reported in the mainstream media, hundreds of colleges and universities across the country have run into a legal thicket as they’ve implemented the original guidelines. There has been a flood of lawsuits, more than 600 of them, brought by accused men in both state and federal courts claiming that colleges used biased, one-sided and unfair proceedings when they them found guilty of sexual misconduct and punished them, mainly by suspensions and expulsions from their schools. Notable is that around half of the lawsuits heard by the courts to date have met with rulings in favor of the accused men – in effect a validation of the Trump-DeVos effort to protect the due-process rights of accused men and a rebuke to the Obama-Biden approach. Then there is the matter of the Supreme Court, reconstituted with a conservative majority by President Trump’s three justice appointments — including Amy Coney Barrett. Before her elevation a few months ago, she was central in in what some lawyers view as a landmark case, Doe v. Purdue, when a federal appeals court found that Purdue University may have discriminated against a male student on the basis of sex, believing his female accuser’s version of events while barring the young man from presenting evidence on his own behalf … “A real battle is shaping up,” Andrew Miltenberg, the lawyer who brought the case against Purdue, said in a Zoom interview. “On the one hand, you have Biden, the moving force behind the 2011 Obama policies who will attempt to roll back some of the regulations put into place under Trump, so we’re going to be revisiting due process and related matters, like investigations, hearings, and appeals.” “At the same time,” Miltenberg, widely viewed as a pioneer in this emerging field of law, continued, “you have a clear majority on the Supreme Court who will be sympathetic to the plight of young men accused of sex assault and who haven’t had an equitable opportunity to be heard. And you have Supreme Court Justice Barrett, who’s written the most significant decision on the matter to date. It’s setting up an interesting and potentially volatile dynamic.”

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