Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill



In 1991, after Thurgood Marshall announced that he would retire from the Supreme Court, President George Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the position.  Thomas had chaired the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 1982 until 1990, when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court.  At the EEOC, had Thomas worked to end affirmative action and established himself as a fierce opponent of policies that were generally favored by unions and civil rights groups. 

Controversial from the start, Thomas's nomination became a media sensation when it was leaked to the press that law professor Anita Hill was willing to testify that Thomas had sexually harassed her while she served under him at the EEOC during the 1980's.  After the Senate Judiciary Committee was forced to reopen the confirmation hearings, several members labeled Hill a liar and suggested that she suffered from some form of mental illness.  Following days of gavel-to-gavel coverage on every major television network, the hearings came to a climax when Thomas described himself as the "victim" of a "high-tech lynching."  In the end, Thomas was confirmed by a full Senate vote of 52-48.


Thurgood Marshall announces his retirement

Video clip, 30 seconds

Anita Hill testifies before

The Senate Judiciary Committee

Video clip, 2 minutes

Clarence Thomas declares himself the victim of a high-tech lynching

Video clip, 30 seconds


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