Clarence Thomas Accuser Anita Hill Offers Senate Judiciary Committee Advice On How To Conduct Kavanaugh Hearing

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Grace Carr Reporter
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Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill offered guidance to the Senate Judiciary Committee on how it should conduct its Monday hearing of allegations that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted a woman over 35 years ago, in a Tuesday op-ed.

“In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court,” Hill wrote in an op-ed published by The New York Times Tuesday. “It failed on both counts.”

Hill wrote that the public deserves better than the 1991 hearings that ultimately failed to prove whether Supreme Court Justice Thomas or alleged victim Hill had been truthful. Hill claimed that Thomas had sexually harassed her while she worked for him as an aide, but Thomas flatly denied her claims and called the proceedings a “high-tech lynching.” A divided Senate confirmed Thomas in a 52 to 48 vote in October 1991.

“That the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing suggests that the committee has learned little from the Thomas hearing, much less the more recent #MeToo movement,” Hill wrote before laying out a list of guidelines to make the hearing as successful as possible.

Hill insists that a neutral investigative body guided by sexual violence experts is critical to conducting a hearing that aims to seek justice and uphold the integrity of the court. The committee must “[r]efrain from pitting the public interest in confronting sexual harassment against the need for a fair confirmation hearing,” Hill wrote.

Hill said the hearing should not be rushed and that Monday’s hearing is too soon, calling the choice “discouraging” because it will not allow “enough time for meaningful inquiry into very serious charges.” She also maintains that all those present should call Christine Blasey Ford by her name, noting the difficulty of publicly speaking about assault.

Hill’s op-ed follows allegations that Kavanaugh tried to force himself on Ford when they were both minors. The allegations were reported by The New Yorker on Sept. 14. Ford’s name was not reported until Sunday. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyer: It’s Not Her Job To Corroborate Her Story)

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the FBI about the allegations on Sept. 13, allowing this claim to gain widespread attention.

“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a Monday statement. Kavanaugh also said he wasn’t at the party that’s been described as the location where the assault occurred.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing for Kavanaugh and Ford on Sept. 24.

“In 2018, our senators must get it right,” Hill’s op-ed concluded.

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