About the groping allegations against Justice Thomas [With Comment by John]

The National Law Journal has reported allegations that, in 1999, Justice Thomas inappropriately touched a young woman named Moira Smith. The alleged touching occurred at a dinner party at the home of her boss. Supposedly, Thomas groped Smith while she was setting the table.

I have three observations about Smith’s allegation. First, she waited 17 years publicly to make it. If something serious occurred, I find it difficult to believe that Smith, a partisan Democrat, would have kept quiet about it for very long — especially given Anita Hill’s allegations earlier in the decade.

Second, as far as I know, this is the first time Justice Thomas has been accused of inappropriate sexual touching. Anita Hill’s allegations consisted of comments of a sexual nature that Thomas supposedly made to her. During that high stakes 1991 confirmation battle, the Democrats (to the best of my recollection) failed to produce any witness who accused Thomas of groping or the like. And until just now, no woman has publicly leveled such an accusation since.

We can’t discount a sudden rash of such allegations. But considering the enduring controversy surrounding the Thomas/Hill clash, the absence of any until now seems telling.

Third, sexual touching at a D.C. area dinner party? It sounds implausible. Common sense suggests that groping is unlikely to occur in that context, especially by someone as high profile and vulnerable to sex harassment allegations as Clarence Thomas. In my experience litigating these sorts of claims, groping occurs in a more private, lower risk setting.

Can we say that the groping Smith alleges didn’t occur? No. It is quite difficult to prove that something didn’t happen, and such proof doesn’t seem to exist in this case.

For the reasons stated above, however, I don’t think Smith’s allegations should be believed.

Carrie Severino, who clerked for Justice Thomas, offers her thoughts on Thomas here and her thoughts on Smith here and here.

JOHN adds: This story has all the earmarks of a lie. No doubt the Democratic Party and its dark money supporters pay well for such fairy tales, but the rest of us should express our contempt for Democrat partisans like Moira Smith who fabricate lies 17 years after the fact. This kind of nonsense has gone on for far too long. We should put a stop to it.