After Justice William Brennan stepped down from the Supreme Court in July 1990, Thomas was one of five candidates on President Bush’s shortlist for the position and Bush’s favorite of the five. Ultimately, after consulting with his advisors, Bush decided to hold off on nominating Thomas, and nominated Judge David Souter of the First Circuit instead. Justice Thurgood Marshall announced his retirement, and on July 1, 1991, President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace him. Marshall had been the only African-American justice on the court. In announcing his selection, Bush called Thomas the “best qualified [nominee] at this time.”
U.S. presidents of that era submitted lists of potential federal court nominees to the American Bar Association (ABA) for a confidential rating of their judicial temperament, competence and integrity on a three-level scale of well qualified, qualified or unqualified. However, as noted by Adam Liptak of The New York Times, the ABA has historically taken generally liberal positions on divisive issues, and studies suggest that candidates nominated by Democratic presidents fare better in the group’s ratings than those nominated by Republicans. Anticipating that the ABA would rate Thomas more poorly than they thought he deserved, the White House and Republican Senators pressured the ABA for at least the mid-level qualified rating, and simultaneously attempted to discredit the ABA as partisan. The ABA did rate Thomas as qualified, although with one of the lowest levels of support for a Supreme Court nominee. Ultimately, the ABA rating ended up having little impact on Thomas’ nomination.
Some of the public statements of Thomas’s opponents foreshadowed the confirmation fight that would occur. Both liberal interest groups and Republicans in the White House and Senate approached the nomination as a political campaign.
Attorney General Richard Thornburgh had previously warned Bush that replacing Thurgood Marshall, who was widely revered as a civil rights icon, with any candidate who was not perceived to share Marshall’s views would make the confirmation process difficult. Civil rights and feminist organizations opposed the appointment based partially on Thomas’s criticism of affirmative action and suspicions that Thomas might not be a supporter of Roe v. Wade.
Thomas’s formal confirmation hearings began on September 10, 1991. Thomas was reticent when answering Senators’ questions during the appointment process, recalling what had happened to Robert Bork when Bork expounded on his judicial philosophy during his confirmation hearings four years prior. Thomas’s earlier writings had frequently referenced the legal theory of natural law; during his confirmation hearings Thomas limited himself to the statement that he regards natural law as a “philosophical background” to the Constitution.
Anita Hill allegations
After the conclusion of the confirmation hearings, an FBI interview with Anita Hill was leaked and the confirmation hearings were reopened. Hill, a black attorney, had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and had subsequently followed Thomas to the EEOC. After the leak, Hill was called to testify at Thomas’s confirmation hearings. She testified that Thomas had subjected her to comments of a sexual nature, which she felt constituted sexual harassment or at least “behavior that is unbefitting an individual who will be a member of the Court.” Hill’s testimony included lurid details, and some Senators aggressively questioned her.
Thomas denied the allegations, saying:
This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I’m concerned it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.
Hill was the only person to testify at the Senate hearings that there had been unsolicited sexual advances. The Left painted Thomas as a misogynistic monster despite the glaring contradictions, lies and lack of evidence to support such a narrative. The U.S. House and Senate dismissed the baseless accusations presented by Hill, confirmed Thomas to the court, and the public largely viewed Hill as discredited.
Despite all this, the Left, through HBO, continued to smear Thomas for the irredeemable sin of being conservative while being black. On 16 April 2016 a slanderous film called Confirmation, a “fictionalized look” at the drama of the Thomas confirmation hearing, was released. The star of the film was none other than Hillary Clinton surrogate actress Kerry Washington.
While it was billed as “meticulously researched” by the leftist screenwriters and Hollywood executives behind the film, Confirmation rewrites history to advance the myth that Anita Hill was a victim of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas. The fictional “docudrama” that twists and omits key facts, and in some cases, outright makes things up, is yet another attempt by the left to establish through persistence what could not be established through evidence.
Here are 6 pieces of evidence that Hill was lying:
1. A witness said she was told details about the supposed sexual harassment while the two were living in Washington, except this witness was not living in Washington when Hill worked for Thomas.
The witness supposedly corroborating Hills’ allegations had moved out of Washington before Hill even began working for Thomas. How could she have possibly been told about the harassment before it happened?
2. Hill followed Thomas, a man she accused of sexual harassment, from job to job.
Hill claimed that she feared losing her government job if she did not follow Thomas from job to job. As Brookings Institute senior fellow Stuart Taylor Jr. points out, Hill was an employee of the federal government, known for its incredible job security.
3. Hill made numerous phone calls to her supposed sexual harasser after she stopped working for him.
Phone logs document numerous calls from Hill to Thomas after she stopped working for him, notes Thomas Sowell. It seems rather odd that a woman would consistently call a man who sexually harassed her.
Further, Hill initially denied that she made these calls — which doesn’t exactly boost her credibility either.
4. Hill initially asked to be kept anonymous when her accusations were presented to Thomas. But if her accusations were true, then Thomas would know that the accusations were launched by Hill, so why ask for anonymity?
Sowell elaborates: “The really fatal fact about Anita Hill’s accusations was that they were first made to the Senate Judiciary Committee in confidence, and she asked that her name not be mentioned when the accusations were presented to Judge Thomas by those trying to pressure him to withdraw his nomination to the Supreme Court.
“Think about it: The accusations referred to things that were supposed to have happened when only two people were present,” adds Sowell. “If the accusations were true, Clarence Thomas would automatically know who originated them. Anita Hill’s request for anonymity made sense only if the charges were false.”
5. Hill lied five times about being told something from a Democratic staffer, which she later admitted to under oath.
The Federalist highlights that Hill admitted, under oath, that although she previously denied being told something by a Democratic staffer, she actually was. This of course reeks of a political motive for the allegations and, again, a lack of credibility of the accuser.
6. A dozen females who worked with Thomas and Hill gave favorable testimony about Thomas and refuted the claims by Hill of Thomas’ inappropriate behavior.
One of those witnesses went out of her way to point out that the image that Anita Hill projected on television bore no resemblance to the behavior and attitudes of either Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas that she had seen with her own eyes. On the other side, one witness backed up Anita Hill’s story by saying that she had been told the same things by Anita Hill when they both lived in Washington. But then the fact came out that this star witness had left Washington before Anita Hill went to work for Clarence Thomas, so there was no way that her corroboration could be true.
There were ways in which different versions of events by Hill and Thomas were quite capable of being checked — but were not checked. That failure to check the facts was very strange in a situation where so much depended on the credibility of the two people. Here are the two versions.
According to Clarence Thomas, he hired Anita Hill at the urging of a friend because an official of the law firm at which she worked had advised her to leave. According to Ms. Hill — both then and now — she was not “asked to leave” the law firm but was “in good standing” at the time.
This too was not just a question of “he said” and “she said.” An affidavit sworn by a former partner in that law firm supported Clarence Thomas’ version. That was ignored by most of the media. Since the Senate has the power of subpoena, it was suggested that they issue a subpoena to get the law firm’s records, since that could provide a clue as to the credibility of the two people. Senators opposed to the nomination of Judge Thomas voted down that request for the issuance of a subpoena.
After Anita Hill’s accusations, a group of female members of Congress staged a melodramatic march up the Capitol steps, with the TV cameras rolling, demanding that the Senate “get to the bottom of this.” [This was repeated in the Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings with George Soros funded activists marching on the capital and affecting the vote of swing voter Senator Flake (AZ).]
But “getting to the bottom of this” apparently did not include issuing a subpoena that could have shown conclusively who was truthful and who was not.
In another instance, there was already hard evidence but it too was ignored. Clarence Thomas said that Anita Hill had initiated a number of phone calls to him, over the years, after she had left the agency where they both worked. She said otherwise. But a phone log from the agency showed that he was right.
The really fatal fact about Anita Hill’s accusations was that they were first made to the Senate Judiciary Committee in confidence, and she asked that her name not be mentioned when the accusations were presented to Judge Thomas by those trying to pressure him to withdraw his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Think about it: The accusations referred to things that were supposed to have happened when only two people were present. If the accusations were true, Clarence Thomas would automatically know who originated them. Anita Hill’s request for anonymity made sense only if the charges were false.
The Clarence Thomas ‘High Tech’ Lynching Awakened Andrew Breitbart