The First Time Was Farce, Too

The Democrats’ current attack on Judge Brett Kavanaugh obviously recalls their failed assault on Clarence Thomas, who has gone on to a distinguished career as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Memories fade, and I had forgotten some of what Hans Bader details at Liberty Unyielding. I remember this much: the Thomas hearing was televised and gripped the nation. At the time, most Americans concluded that Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of making inappropriate sexual references while she worked for him, was lying, and Thomas was confirmed by a Democrat-majority Senate. Over time, the Democrats kept hammering away, and now their press adjunct pretends that Hill somehow carried the day.

But there is much more to the story:

Journalists also, disgustingly, continue to smear Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and make false claims about the Senate hearings that led to his confirmation. As lawyer Adam White notes in the Weekly Standard, the evidence overwhelmingly supported Thomas’s innocence of claims that he said sexually offensive things to Professor Anita Hill. Moreover,

Not a single colleague of Hill’s came forward to support her allegations. In stark contrast, the very last panel heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee featured eight women, seven of whom had worked with Thomas at the EEOC, the Department of Education, and in Senator John Danforth’s office. …

Each was given three minutes to speak, and each of them forcefully rejected the charges.
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In her initial meeting with FBI agents, [Hill] omitted many of the salacious details that later exploded in the Senate confirmation hearings. As Hill presented a much more scandalous story to the Senate Judiciary Committee, senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, and Arlen Specter had questions about why her story had changed so dramatically. “I did not tell the FBI all of the information,” Hill replied to Specter, because the “FBI agent made clear that if I were embarrassed about talking about something, that I could decline to discuss things that were too embarrassing, but that I could provide as much information as I felt comfortable with at that time.”

But her account was immediately disputed by both of the FBI agents who had interviewed her, Special Agents Jolene Smith Jameson and John B. Luton, who observed her Senate testimony and then filed statements detailing what they described as Hill’s untruthfulness.

I had forgotten that the FBI assessed Anita Hill as untruthful.

Ignoring all this evidence, ABC News’s chief political analyst Matthew Dowd recently branded Justice Thomas a “sexual predator.”

This is insane. That characterization would be ridiculous even if the trivial incidents related by Hill were true.

Even back in 1991 and 1992, the media were hopelessly biased. Lost in a sea of articles slanted against Thomas was the fact that the FBI had concluded that Hill’s charges were “unfounded.” As a lawyer put it, “Most Senators rejected Hill’s charges — for good reason — when the Democratic-controlled Senate voted narrowly to confirm Thomas. Hill’s allegations were hard to square with the fact that she followed him from job to job.” Moreover, White notes, there was no “corroborating” evidence for the charges against Thomas.

Nevertheless, Hill went on to fame and fortune after lying to the Senate about her intent to cash in by writing a book:

Senators recognized that Hill had a potential motive to lie, such as the enormous amount of money in book and movie deals that an accuser can make by cashing in on her story. Hoping to defuse this, Alabama Democrat Howell Heflin asked Hill, “Are you interested in writing a book?” Hill answered, falsely, that she was not.

CNN’s Poppy Harlow and the AP’s Pace criticize Heflin for this, falsely making it sound like Heflin was attacking Hill, rather than trying to help her dispel a supposed “myth.” In reality, Tim Graham notes, “Hill did exactly what she denied she would, and accepted a million-dollar advance for two books.”
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[A]fter accusing Thomas of sexually offensive remarks, Hill received a “well-paid” position at “a prestigious university” and reaped “hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from left-leaning colleges and other institutions.”

Hill was richly rewarded for carrying the Democrats’ water by smearing Justice Thomas. Whether Christine Ford’s smear will enable the same career enhancement remains to be seen.

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