In place of Thurgood Marshall, who had announced his retirement, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the U.S. Supreme Court on July 1, 1991. Thomas had been appointed by President Bush to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in March 1990 at the time of his nomination.
The nomination process was acrimonious right off the off, particularly with the abortion debate. Similar to how they had opposed Bush’s Supreme Court candidate from the year before, David Souter, many women’s groups and civil rights organisations opposed Thomas because of his conservative political stances.
Anita Hill, a law professor who had previously worked for Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the United States Department of Education, accused him of sexual harassment, and information about her allegations was leaked to the media from a secret FBI report near the end of the confirmation process.
A media frenzy over sexual harassment resulted from the charges, which also prompted additional investigations. Before the nomination was sent to the full, Democratic-controlled Senate for a vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee reopened and held televised hearings.
As Kavanaugh Prepares to Confront His Accuser, This Is a Timeline of The Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Controversy
The specifics of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday are still unknown, as are the circumstances. Brett Kavanaugh, a contender for the Supreme Court, is accused by Ford of sexually assaulting her in high school.
But just as it did 27 years ago when the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings over sexual harassment claims against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, how all of this is handled will have an impact.
Staff members of the Democratic committee started to hear reports about Thomas harassing one or more women who had worked with him late in the summer of 1991. Anita Hill, who had collaborated with Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education, eventually made a formal accusation against him.
Here Is a Recap of What Transpired
Sept. 6: Anita Hill says she needs time to reflect after twice declining to discuss the situation with staff. She deliberates her options over the course of that weekend, caught between her desire to remain anonymous and her sense of obligation to the committee to supply information.
The Thomas confirmation hearings start on September 10 as planned. They run 10 days and are totally devoted to Thomas’ legal opinions as they are presented in his speeches and writings, including the rulings he made during his brief 18-month tenure as a judge on the federal appeals court.
20 September: The hearings are over. Democratic senators start to worry about dismissing Hill’s accusations when they aren’t being filmed. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and a small group of other senators implore Joseph Biden to act as committee chairman.
As is customary, Biden requests that the George H.W. Bush administration give the go-ahead for another FBI inquiry that will specifically look into Hill’s allegations. FBI agents question Hill in Oklahoma on September 23. Hill also gives the committee an affidavit.
Thomas is interviewed by FBI investigators on September 25 at his Virginia residence. The Judiciary Committee convenes on September 27 to decide on the nomination. Biden has kept the Republicans informed even though the Hill allegations are still secret. And he says something quite odd regarding Thomas and his coworkers:
“I think there are some things that are completely unrelated. And that is who he is. This has to do with what he believes.” “I know my colleagues, and I ask everyone else to refrain from personalising this conflict,” Biden continued in a foreboding tone.
No indication of Thomas’s lack of moral integrity had been made public prior to that point. This intrigued the reporter who was seated in the press area. Oct. 6: This reporter’s piece, which details Hill’s accusations and includes information from a witness who corroborated them, is broadcast on NPR.
Hill Conducts a Press Conference on October 7 and Declares Her Willingness to Testify
The final vote on the Thomas nomination was set for October 8th. Republicans are aware that they do not have enough votes for confirmation, though. Democratic leader George Mitchell and Republican leader Bob Dole huddle together. Democrats have the advantage now that they are in charge of the Senate, but they nevertheless consent to a second series of hearings that will start three days later.
Republicans and some Democrats are now accusing her of covering up Ford’s claims since July. Feinstein claims that she respected Ford’s decision to maintain her anonymity.
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