But there is a less risible argument making the rounds, one worth real consideration on its own merits. Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush, asked: “How much in society should any of us be held liable today when we lived a good life, [and an] arguable issue took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life?”
It’s reasonable to suggest that crimes of youth should not follow you to old age, that America is a place of new beginnings, that we are not who we were yesterday. But do we really believe that? Seventeen-year-olds are regularly charged as adults — but they tend to be poor and of color, not wealthy students at elite prep schools. And are all “chances” the same? Losing a chance to be seated on the highest court in the land would be a disappointment, certainly, but some things are privileges, not entitlements.