Trump-backed GOP Senate nominee Jason Lewis mocked elementary faculty sexual harassment in 1999

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call


Lewis made the feedback on “Face to Face,” a public affairs tv program he co-hosted within the late 1990s and early 2000s in Minnesota, in response to what was then a current Supreme Courtroom case, Davis v. Monroe County College Board.

On the heart of Davis v. Monroe was a fifth-grade lady in Georgia who skilled months of sexual harassment from a male classmate, wherein the classmate allegedly “would sexually taunt her by making an attempt to seize at her breasts, rub in opposition to her within the hallways, or whisper that he wished to ‘get in mattress’ together with her,” in line with reporting from The Washington Put up. The lady’s mom acknowledged that she tried for months to get the varsity to cease the boy, however that she was ignored.

CNN’s KFile additionally reviewed different episodes of Face to Face from this time interval wherein Lewis additionally argued in opposition to the Sixth Modification’s proper to authorized counsel, which he stated was “already stretched” and that court-appointed attorneys went past the scope of the Sixth Modification.

These newly unearthed feedback in regards to the harassment lawsuit are in keeping with Lewis’ historical past of deriding ladies who expertise sexual assault and sexual harassment. CNN’s KFile beforehand reported Lewis mocked ladies who had been traumatized by undesirable sexual advances and that he considered sexual harassment legislation as an assault on First Modification rights to freedom of speech, calling it each “ridiculous” and “unconstitutional,” in 2011 episodes of his former radio present.
The previous GOP congressman, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump final 12 months within the major, faces a tricky election battle in opposition to incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith for the Minnesota seat. Profitable Minnesota has lengthy been a aim for Republicans and Trump, who plans to go to Minnesota on Friday and misplaced the state by fewer than 45,000 votes in 2016. His marketing campaign is making an attempt so as to add it to the Republican column this 12 months however polling reveals Trump trailing within the state by excessive single digits, and present polling for this Senate battle reveals Lewis trailing Smith by excessive single digits.

In response to a remark request from CNN, Christine Snell, Lewis’ communications director, criticized CNN and KFile, however didn’t reply to the substance of Lewis’ feedback.

Sexual harassment

Within the June 1999 episode ofFace to Face” discussing the case, Lewis continuously bemoaned the courtroom’s ruling, which discovered {that a} faculty might be sued by a scholar, and compelled to pay damages, if it didn’t cease sexual harassment dedicated by different college students.

Lewis additionally dismissed allegations of sexual harassment in faculties as harmless conditions of “Billy” chasing “Susie,” two fictional stand-ins for elementary faculty girls and boys.

“That is such a boon to legal professionals all over the place, they will sue faculty districts for not stopping Billy from teasing Susie,” Lewis stated.

A GOP congressman once lamented not being able to call women 'sluts' anymore
Lewis made the argument that the ruling endorsed superfluous lawsuits, even though the Supreme Courtroom explicitly stated in its ruling that harassment needed to be so “extreme, pervasive, and objectively offensive” as to make it not possible for college students to obtain the advantages of a public schooling, and that “It isn’t sufficient to indicate… {that a} scholar has been ‘teased’ or ‘referred to as offensive names.”

Lewis introduced up the hypothetical examples of the nonexistent Billy and Susie 5 instances within the half-hour episode to downplay sexual harassment in faculties, and stated that pursuing hypothetical sexual harassment instances distracted faculties from stopping violence.

“Whereas faculty districts are making sure that say, you recognize, romantic notes aren’t exchanged, or Billy is not harassing Susie, or all these items — that takes time,” Lewis stated. “And a few of us suppose that faculties should be targeted on violence maybe of their hallways, as an alternative of what some folks deem to be sexual harassment.”

Lewis additionally complained in regards to the improve in sexual harassment lawsuits, although not as a result of he thought sexual harassment was rampant, however reasonably as a result of he thought many had been frivolous.

“Sexual harassment litigation has exploded within the 1980s and 1990s. The truth is, in line with the EEOC, we have gone from 6,127 instances in 1990—to 14,420, simply by 1994—we doubled in lower than 5 years,” Lewis stated to Wright Walling, an lawyer and one of many present’s friends that episode

“You are making an assumption that extra lawsuits are a foul factor, and — ” Walling stated.

“Sure, completely,” Lewis interrupted.

“The actual fact of the matter is that whenever you’re defending the rights of, on this case, a fifth grader, of youngsters, that a few of these who needs to be checked out, and if that takes going to courtroom to make the varsity districts, actually, take note of what they need to be doing to guard our kids, then I do not suppose—” stated Walling.

“I agree with Choose Hand,” Lewis interrupted once more, citing 20th century federal decide Discovered Hand. “He stated that extra lawsuits had been a foul factor and he was proper then as he’s immediately.”

Proper to counsel

In an April 2001 episode of “Face to Face,” Lewis weighed in on a current Supreme Courtroom ruling, Texas v. Cobb, on the Sixth Modification, which states that in all legal prosecutions, the “accused” shall “have the Help of Counsel for his protection.” Lewis argued that the fitting to a courtroom appointed lawyer went past the preliminary intent of the Sixth Modification.

The courtroom held in Texas v. Cobb that the Sixth Modification’s proper to counsel is “offense-specific” and {that a} suspect in a legal investigation might not have an lawyer current for questioning with regard to a associated crime if he already had entry to a lawyer.

Lewis argued that the Sixth Modification’s proper to an lawyer “has been tortured a bit over time. In case you actually wanna have a look at the strict development of the modification, it says folks have the fitting to counsel.”

Lewis added, “In some way, we additionally haven’t solely the fitting to counsel, we’ve the fitting for any individual else to pay for it and the fitting for it to be ever-present, omnipresent. I am not saying [Texas v. Cobb’s] a great ruling. I am simply saying that we’ve already stretched the modification.”


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