The U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings that played out in the U.S. Senate while generating a number of contentious debates reflected another hearing from years past. Like Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas contended with accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct, although he too was sworn in narrowly.
In October 1991, an FBI interview before Thomas’ confirmation made its way to the public. In the interview, Anita Hill revealed that Thomas, her supervisor at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, made several sexual advances and other inappropriate remarks.
Like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Hill was questioned harshly and her credibility was attacked. Another woman made a statement that Thomas made similar remarks to her, but because she was fired from the EEOC, she was not deemed a credible witness.
Despite the fanfare and protests surrounding the appointment, Thomas won the nomination by a vote of 52-48 with the majority of “Yes” votes coming from the Republican side.
Hill went on to become a college professor at Brandeis University and published her book Speaking Truth To Power in 1998. Thomas, who has vehemently denied the allegations, published his 2007 book My Grandfather’s Son which includes his take on the confirmation hearings and Hill’s accusations.
Kerry Washington portrayed Hill in the 2016 HBO movie Confirmation. Wendell Pierce played Thomas.
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