Harassing Anita Hill

For the past two decades, Dr. Anita Hill has led a quiet life as a writer and law professor, far removed from her brief notoriety when she testified before Congress at the confirmation of Judge Clarence Thomas.

Clarence Thomas is also leading a quiet life, likely to set a record for reclusiveness on the bench and earning the nickname, ‘the silent justice’. His wife Ginni, on the other hand, is making lots of noise lately, lobbying for right wing causes with money from nameless sources, and giving rise to questions about judicial ethics and partiality.

Mrs. Thomas made what she ‘portrayed as a peacemaking gesture’, but how would you take something like this?

In a voice mail message left at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9, a Saturday, Virginia Thomas asked her husband’s former aide-turned-adversary to make amends. Ms. Hill played the recording, from her voice mail at Brandeis University, for The New York Times.
“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Anita Hill turned the message over to campus security.

It’s very weird stuff, and troubling that a Supreme Court judges’ wife, hopped up on Tea and anonymous donor money, would perhaps be looking to settle old scores with a woman whose conduct since the Congressional hearings shows nothing but a desire to pursue a quiet career and a private life.

From the Kmareka archives, 2007, comes a post that’s worth re-reading–

The Real Anita Hill

It was David Brock who wrote the hatchet job on Professor Anita Hill, the former federal employee who testified against Clarence Thomas in his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Today, Brock is the President of Media Matters for America, a website that runs transcripts of shock jocks such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, thereby causing them much embarrassment. Brock is a little too free-press for the Fox crowd now, but twenty years ago, he was a rising star of the Washington conservative establishment.

Brock was the one who labeled Professor Hill, ‘a little bit nutty, and a little bit slutty.’ He published a best-selling ‘expose’ that portrayed her as a hysterical accuser.

Not long after his book, “The Real Anita Hill” was published, he learned things about Justice Thomas that led him to believe Professor Hill’s testimony. While reading Hill’s account of the episode, ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ he became overwhelmed with remorse at what he had written about her.

‘As I read the passages where Hill referenced my allegations, I was again struck hard by the realization that I no longer believed in my own book, and for the first time I began to contemplate the personal consequences for Anita Hill of having been the subject of a well-publicized, best-selling book that attacked her, wrongly, as a liar. I made this woman’s life a living hell.’
David Brock, Blinded by the Right, p.295

Brock goes on to relate that he sent Professor Hill a letter of apology c/o feminist author Naomi Wolf. Professor Hill called him back, but got his answering machine, and he never got up the courage to meet her in person.

Meanwhile he agonized over the fact that he had given a woman he had treated as a political enemy a piece of ammunition she could use to take him down and expose the dishonesty of his attacks on her reputation. He waited in fear for her to make his letter public.

‘As far as I know, Hill has kept [the letter] private to this day.’
Blinded by the Right, p.327

So that is the real Anita Hill.

SECOND THOUGHTS: It seems possible that Ginni Thomas left her 7:30am voicemail when she was agitated for some reason, but there’s another possibility that occurs to me. Prof. Hill is a lawyer, and she knows that an apology would be equivalent to admitting that she lied under oath to Congress. Did Ms.Thomas think that she was so powerful in Washington that intimidation of some kind was an option she had in reseverve? Did she plan to parade Prof. Hill’s apology at the next Tea Party, or just have Prof. Hill show up in person wearing a scarlet letter?

APPEARANCE OF WRONGDOING: That liberal rag, The Christian Science Monitor has some background on the issues that come up when a judge’s spouse is engaged in activities that might be affected by the judge’s rulings. But I don’t expect Justice Thomas to recuse himself over qualms of conscience.

TEARS OF REPENTENCE: I wonder if Ginni Thomas had some fantasy that Anita Hill would pray with her, then agree to appear at her side at the next Tea Party rally, wearing sackcloth and apologizing. Thomas said in an interview that she looked forward to forgiving Hill. She reminds me of Serena Joy in the Handmaid’s Tale.

NO SYMPATHY: New American Media, which covers minority issues, is cutting Clarence Thomas no slack.

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28 responses

  1. Thomas’ wife is not a judge and she has a perfect right to reach out if she wants.I wouldn’t guess at her purpose,that’s what she alone knows.
    Her political activities are her business-she’s under no obligation to avoid political activism just because her husband is a SC Justice,and I think you’d be singing a different tune if she were a leftist.
    I recall the hearings and while the term “slutty” doesn’t have any application to Anita Hill,”nutty” may have been not that far off.She seemed a little disturbed-I think maybe as a result of being personally hurt emotionally in her relationship with Thomas-who knows?
    I do know she had a whole crew of left wing “handlers” advising her during the hearings.It was a pretty ugly chapter in Senate history,as were the Bork hearings.
    Alan Dershowitz,at the time certainly no conservative,said Bork was highly qualified for the job.
    There won’t be any more easy hearings for SC Justices.

    1. Don’t believe what your eyes tell you. Instead, believe the obvious lies the right wing nitwits make up.

      Of course the activities of Thomas’ wife create an obvious conflict of interest for Thomas. Just because you say it’s not so, doesn’t make it not so.

      I see three choices:
      1. Thomas’ wife stops all political activism.
      2. Thomas resigns from the SC.
      3. Congress impeaches and removes Thomas from the SC.

      1. Or you go learn something about grounds for impeachment.
        If Thomas called her about this,it would be a major problem.
        You just cannot force a person not under oath to serve the government to give up political activism.
        The Hatch Act does limit Federal employees in this regard.

      2. This lying thing you have-who the hell are you that I’d bother making something up?You’re just left winger crying in his milk because Obama and his gang are going to have some rough sailing for the next two years until he’s turned out of office.He can make all the speeches and nasty faces he wants to,but if he loses the House,he’ll be irrelevant.
        He probably won’t lose the Senate,but it’ll be close enough he won’t be able to get one of his commie friends into the Supreme Court.
        Have a nice November 2.

      3. Observer–I referred to you sounding like a hack because your comment demonstrated to me that you are not merely partisan but that you were not interested in the facts, as I pointed out in my response. Now it seems that you’ve changed your tune. First you wrote that Hill is “disturbed, etc. Then you wrote that you believe Hill was manipulated. This is a claim that many partisans have made, but their evidence is flimsy. Tell me, exactly who manipulated Hill and what did she have to gain by committing perjury, especially since her revelations about Thomas put her in a extremely humiliating position? Arlen Specter’s questioning of her is particularly memorable in this regard. On the other hand, It’s clear what Thomas had to gain by committing perjury, is it not?

        Speaking of Thomas, Thomas ex-girlfriend, who is retired from a successful career as a prosecutor, law professor and administrative law judge for federal agencies, told the the Washington Post today that Thomas was “obsessed” with pornography and that he often said inappropriate things about women he met at work:

        “The justice, McEwen said, often made lewd comments about women’s breasts and would ask them about their bra size. She also said he would talk about pornography in the office.”

        As it turns out, I knew someone who was at Yale Law School when Thomas was there. Long ago, she told me that it was widely known that Thomas often talked about pornography.

        Perhaps one day, when Thomas is no longer on the Court, Hill will be vindicated.

    2. You comments discredit you as a partisan hack. On the one can you “wouldn’t guess at Thomas’ purpose,” yet on the other hand, you are perfectly willing to guess at Anita Hill’s motives. She’ “nutty,” “disturbed–maybe as a result of being personally hurt emotionally in her relationship with Thomas…?” When during the Thomas’ confirmation hearings did Anita Hill ever act “disturbed?” In fact, she conducted herself with the utmost dignity under difficult questioning. The only “nutty” behavior on display is Ginni Thomas leaving that message on Hill’s machine at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Just imagine what you’d think had Anita had called up Ginni early on a Saturday morning after 19 years to urge that Clarence admit that he lied during the confirmation hearings. I’m not guessing at anybody’s motives here, just looking at the facts, something you’re incapable of doing

      1. I’m a partisan,so tht makes me a hack?That is kind of an ignorant statement on your part.
        I don’t think Thomas’ wifeshould have done that,but then you get the left wingnuts here screeching about kicking Thomas off the Court over it.
        Any excuse for Obama to try and force someone like Cass Sunstein on this country.Or Harold Koh,etc.
        Altough I’m neither a Republican nor a Tea Partier,I really despise thios administration which I consider a combination of Clintonistas and commies.
        I actually voted for Clinton in 1992,so you think you know more than you do.
        I believe Hill was manipulated during the hearings by people with ulterior motives-being intelligent doesn’t mean you can’t be used.
        Ginni Thomas should have let it be,but some people can’t.

      2. Nina-I do not condone Ginni Thomas’ actions.Let’s be clear on that.She might possibly be a little deranged.

    3. Oh for heaven sakes, observer, no woman, unless she’s out of her gourd, could reveal such intimate, humiliating details as Hill did under oath and in public view and be “mistaken” or even “influenced.” Furthermore, if Hill was “influenced,” the names of those who influenced her must be one of the best-kept secrets in American history. Nope, Hill either was telling the truth or she committed perjury. There’s no evidence that she was or is out of her gourd.

      “I like Thomas’ decisions and that’s all I care about.” This, as far as I’m concerned, explains everything you’ve written. You don’t give a flying fig whether Thomas perjured himself in order to obtain a seat on the Supreme Court or what he did to Hill and perhaps myriad other women. At the hearings, two women came forward and corroborated Hill’s testimony, and if this new women in the Washington Post can be believed, that makes three woman. In contrast, it’s Thomas word alone that he was a victim of “a high-tech lynch mob” instead of a dirty, lying, misogynist, who was all but certifiably crazy with ambition. If Thomas is a perjurer and his character is as I’ve described, how can you trust his judicial decisions on the Court, and how can you even trust your own judgment in approving of his decisions? This should give you pause about your own extreme partisanship–though I doubt it will.

      I only brought up Thomas’ “obsessive interest” in pornography because I think it adds weight to the veracity of Hill’s testimony Otherwise, I don’t care how many porno films he watches–though I hope they don’t “influence” his judicial decisions. And by the way, I’ve been in an elevator with Specter on a number of occasions (not alone), and he’s “creepy” alright, but not as creepy as Thomas.

      1. I remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg perjuring herself at her confirmation hearing.She said she had an open mind on the death penalty,yet she has never once voted to approve an execution.
        She was a policymaker for the ACLU(not a member which is different)and has never once recused herself from a case where the ACLU was a litigant.She is devoid of ethics.
        I don’t have tpo particularly admire or like someone very much when they do what I consider the right thing.
        I will never apologize to anyone for what I believe.
        Obviously we won’t agree on Hill.I didn’t say she was “out of her gourd”so don’t just make things up.People like you think you can say something and it becomes true.
        Who were the coterie of “handlers”surrounding Hill during her testimony?I mean,she was an experienced attorney and she could barely say a word without the whispering in the ear.
        Now,another thing-Molly Yard,that disgusting hag from the NOW group,said before the hearing”We’ll Bork him”.
        meaning they were out to assassinate his character-why would I trust Hill’s testimony.
        Bill Clinton had a number of women who accused him of sexual misconduct,but I guess in your book they’re liars?
        I like the plain language of Thomas’ decisions when he writes them-it doesn’t go over the heads of the people he’s serving.
        Just so you know I’m not always partisan,I had no problem with Sonia Sotomayor.She was incredibly well qualified for SCOTUS service.
        Just as Rogeriee Thompson will be a superb jurist on the Circuit Court.I dealt with Judge Thompson numerous times and she is a total professional.I don’t care one way or the other about her personal politics.

      2. “Obviously we won’t agree on Hill.I didn’t say she was “out of her gourd”so don’t just make things up.People like you think you can say something and it becomes true.”

        Just for the record, observer, where did I claim that you said Hill was out of her gourd? I am well aware that in the post I was responding to, you speculated that she was “mistaken” or “influenced.” My point, which you may have misunderstood, was that Hill wouldn’t have put herself through such a misogynist grilling unless she was telling the truth or out of her gourd, as she had nothing to gain from lying. However, I will remind you that in an earlier post, you speculated that Hill was “disturbed,” but you have back-peddled on this notion ever since.

        Your “people like you think” comment is not based on anything I’ve written. Throughout my posts, I have presented a reasoned argument in defense of Hill’s testimony. I don’t know where you got the idea that I “think [I] can say something and it becomes true.” One thing is for sure though: I try to refrain from comments such as “people like you think” because such comments are presumptuous to say the least.

        It’s not surprising that Ginsburg was less than candid in her confirmation hearing because that’s par for the course with all the candidates for SCOTOS. Furthermore, once on the Court, all the Justices evolve as jurists over time. However, it’s a whole other order of dishonesty if Thomas said the things that Hill claims he did–and this would hold true in my book even if Thomas were a liberal jurist instead of a conservative one.

        So yes, we disagree about the likelihood of whether Hill was telling the truth or not. Added to this is that if Thomas perjured himself, I apparently take the nature of that perjury more seriously than you do. Then there’s the fact that you are partial to Thomas rulings on the Court.

  2. That’s a funny way of reaching out– if you read the transcript of the message it sounds more like a demand for an apology and a condescending suggestion that Anita Hil needs to get right with God.
    Anita Hill’s life of privacy and dignity gives creedence to the truth of her testimony. What on earth motivated Ginni Thomas to approach her that way?

    1. Who knows?I don’t even know what motivates my closest family to have the opinions they do.

  3. It would make my lifetime if given another opportunity President Obama would nominate Anita Hill to the Supreme Court.

    In the meantime…Ms. Hill should seek out an order of protection against Mrs. Thomas.

    1. Keep on having dreams .You left wing nitwits had your moment.

  4. the folks “disturbed” at the hearings were such as Arlen Specter who came up with the wildest explanations for her testimony rather than the obvious. observer needs to
    re-read what Hill said was her motivation in testifying.

    1. I watched the hearings.Spector ALWAYS gave me the creeps.Hill did to a lesser extent,but I didn’t think she had THAT much credibility.

  5. To the ‘Observer': You will have a tough time accusing Ms. Hill of being ‘nutty’ while posting such a nutty example of how a conservative pretends to think. Your obvious bias clouds any semblance of balance.

    1. Okay-I hear what you’re saying and it means absolutely nothing to me.

      1. Yes, the truth means absolutely nothing to most right wing nitwits.

  6. Nina-I don’t think Hill committed perjury.
    I am convinced she believed what she said,but may have been mistaken or influenced.
    Perjury is willful misreprensentation under oath.
    I have testified under oath hundreds of times in both State and Federal courts and grand juries.
    I have made mistakes on the facts more than a few times,but I didn’t lie.I testified to what I thought took place.
    I never once gave someone a “bad case” because that is just wrong.
    Maybe Thomas liked porn-if it was adult porn
    who cares?I’m not some phony moralist about what consenting adults like.
    I’m sure you’d call me a bigot if I questioned David Cicilline’s sexual preferences.I couldn’t care less.
    I dislike him because he’s a lying scumbag.
    I really don’t know what Hill was thinking about,but I suspect she had a discussion with someone who wanted to derail Thomas’ nomination and they worked on her from that angle.
    Emotions can make any of us do some strange things.
    Specter always reminded me of the kind of guy my dad would tell me to avoid in public bathrooms.He is creepy.
    Hill reminds me of an ex from 40 some odd years back who got her law degree and was brilliant,but had some instability and was susceptible to people using her.
    Hill actually is much ore stable,but I just don’t know.
    FWIW I like Thomas’ decisions and that’s all I care about.

    1. Oh for heaven sakes, observer, no woman, unless she’s out of her gourd, could reveal such intimate, humiliating details as Hill did under oath and in public view and be “mistaken” or even “influenced.” Furthermore, if Hill was “influenced,” the names of those who influenced her must be one of the best-kept secrets in American history. Nope, Hill either was telling the truth or she committed perjury. There’s no evidence that she was or is out of her gourd.

      “I like Thomas’ decisions and that’s all I care about.” This, as far as I’m concerned, explains everything you’ve written. You don’t care a flying fig whether Thomas perjured himself in order to obtain a seat on the Supreme Court or what he did to Hill and perhaps myriad other women. At the hearings, two women came forward and corroborated Hill’s testimony, and if this new women in the Washington Post can be believed, that makes three woman. In contrast, it’s Thomas word alone that he was a victim of “a high-tech lynch mob,” not a dirty, lying, misogynist, who was all but certifiably crazy with ambition. If Thomas is a perjurer and his character is as I’ve described, how can you trust his judicial decisions on the Court, and how can you even trust your own judgment in approving of his decisions? This should give you pause about your own extreme partisanship–though I doubt it will.

      I only brought up Thomas “obsessive interest” in pornography because I think it adds weight to the veracity of Hill’s testimony Otherwise, I don’t care how many porno films he watches. By the way, I’ve been in an elevator with Specter on a number of occasions (not alone), and he’s “creepy” alright, but not as creepy as Thomas.

  7. Well, that hearing was not about ‘liking porn’. It’s about unwanted and offensive sexual talk in the workplace.
    I once worked in a very diverse clinic, and some people had a rough sense of humor, others were very religious and did not like any kind of profane talk. Everyone knew to watch their language around those people. It’s showing good judgment and basic respect. A judge who doesn’t have those qualities shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court.

    1. But he is on the Supreme Court,just like Kagan,who now has to recuse herself from half the cases on the docket.Why didn’t anyone think of that?But guess what-she’s there and I’m stuck with her like you are with Thomas,so we just have to accept it.
      Did we really need a President who was getting oral sex with a young intern in the office?It may not have been a crime,but it certainly was an abuse of his position as someone with enormous power.
      We can go on all day about these human failings,but if you can find the perfect person,let me know.You’ll be looking a long,long time.
      What David Jaffe referred to in his post about the general state of things didn’t reveal anything new-the world has always been a stage for misery,disease,and warring factions.
      It’s just that today it seems magnified because the second after it happens,you see it on the net,tv,etc.The sense of immedicay has changed,not the basics.

  8. Yes,I guess I’m partial to Thomas’ rulings because they make sense to me.
    Heller and McDonald were the best decisions in decades.
    Kelo was the worst.
    I haven’t decided how good or bad People United was.
    Despite what I’ve read here and on RIF,it still turns out that three of the five biggest contributors are unions.

  9. Do you have a citation for that?

    1. For what?Kelo?Or United Citizens?
      Maybe you mean the contributors.AFSCME(Democrat) was far and away the biggest contributor,then came the Chamber of Commerce,Crossroads,(both Republican)and SEIU and another union,whose name escapes me(both Democrat).
      I don’t recall the show it was on-one of those roundtable weekend shows-but the figures came from the FEC as far as I know.
      You don’t seriously want to dispute that the Democrats get a huge amount of money from unions,do you?
      I,having been a union member for many years,resent the ability of unionsto spend the dues of members on politiicians they don’t support themselves.

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