The real Anita Hill : the untold story



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Notes on half title: Shadow Senate. Tim Phelps, Nina Totenberg. William Coleman and daughter Lovida. How did you get the transcript of the House committee interview with the comm. 217. Susan Hoerchner to Gerry Phillips to Nan Aron to Ricki Seidman, Jim Brudney. Notes/underlinings: 1st round on hearings left author less than impressed/agnostic on confirmation. Author pro-choice. Thought Clarence Thomas might be guilty. Thomas-Hill case disfigured by ideology/emotion. 7 Oct. 1991 Anita Hill agrees to testify. 3 days earlier, name leaked. Long Dong Silver. Thomas claimed they were lies, national disgrace, high tech lynching. Testimony ruled out--mixed signals, miscommunication, or affair gone sour. When Hill story broke, players chose sides based on partisan loyalties/ideology. Men on committee "just didn't get it." Press--media no better. NYT reported failed to wonder why her closest friend did not know her political views. Increasing numbers of Americans thought Thomas lied. Confirmed 52-48. Carol Moseley Braun. Michael Kimmel--Clinton is Anita Hill's revenge. EEOC 10,522 people filed sexual harassment complaints. Women in Minnesota--national drive to raise $250,000 to endow chair for Hill at University of Oklahoma. Hill $10,000 to $12,000 an appearance. Thomas's implicit guilt became staple of media commentary, popular culture, Democratic rhetoric. Nina Totenberg, Senator Paul Simon, Gary Trudeau. Middle ground theories. Polls changed--Hill changed places with Thomas in perceived credibility. Special counsel, Peter Fleming, investigated leaks. Leaker/leakers got off. Hill's media image caused her "reversal of fortune" in national polls. No attempt to compare Hill's testimony to public records, testimony of 3rd parties. No interviews for book. Complicated picture. Brock's main thesis. Untold story at odds with myth. New information. Seeks to establish if sexual harassment occurred in this instance. Hill misrepresented/suppressed facts relating to her relationship with Thomas, contacts with Senate staff during nomination proceedings, her background, beliefs, motives. Thomas should be vindicated. Thomas nomination portrayed as White House replacement of black liberal with a black conservative. Marshall stepped down 27 June 1991. On day of resignation, Thomas interviewed. Mark Paoletta. Emilio Garza. Susan Hoerchner hadn't spoken to Hill in 7 years--"pig." FBI interview--Hoerchner called to tell Hill of nomination--could not believe as he was such a pig. 3 weeks later, Hill called Yale friend Gary Liman Phillips. Within days of conversation with Phillips, guest at a dinner party attended by Nan Aron, George Kassouf repeated the story. Harassment charge divulged to group opposed to Thomas without Hill's knowledge/consent. Consider impact of court impeding implementation of racial quotas. Shadow Senate--12 or so operatives who facilitated opposition of conservative judicial nominees: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 1985; Robert Bork, 1987; Clarence Thomas, 1991. Nan Aron--executive director of Alliance for Justice. Alliance could sink judicial candidates before Senators had chance to make a judgment. Alliance sponsored by NOW, Ralph Nadar organizations, Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Qualification issue no impact on those who had not been judges--Story, Marshall, Brandeis, Frankfurter, nor those without judicial experience--Earl Warren, Byron White, Lewis Powell, William Rehnquist. Kate Micheleman, NARAL. Ralph Nease--Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Judith Lichtman, Women's Legal Defense Fund. Ricki Seidman, Senate staffer, previous legal director of RETA. James Brudney, Metzenbaum's Labor Committee staff. Brudney--questionable means to attain ideological ends, cut ethical corners, compromised personal relationships. EEOC allowed 13,000 discrimination cases to lapse beyond statute of limitations. Nina Totenberg legal reportage--inability/unwillingness to see judiciary as anything but third political branch of government. Scalped Judge Douglas Ginsburg. Larry Sabato--story of Ginsburg/marijuana passed to liberal group by bitter ex-girl friend. How do you know? Totenberg, in initial discussion with Hill, said that she had been sexually harassed at the National Observer in the 1970s. Totenberg biased in court coverage. Called Fleming a fool, who issued a stupid report. Timothy Phelps, favored outlet of the Shadow Senate for negative stories. Money and votes. Bork nomination defeated by Shadow Senate. Judges as candidates--post Hill drama. Hill story not invented by Thomas opposition. Bill Corr/Metzenbaum. Metzenbaum/Simon voted against Thomas's reconfirmation as EEOC chair. Metzenbaum only Senator on Judiciary to oppose Thomas's appellate court nomination. Gail Laster. Judiciary Committee--dirty tricks. Senator Heflin--judge--cagily political member of committee. Judy Winston, Allyson Duncan gave Thomas clean bill of health with respect to issues of personal conduct. 1989 Thomas had done little to lay groundwork for nomination. Judge Laurence Silberman convinced Thomas to become a judge. William Coleman, Jr.--liberal Republican. Side deal with daughter Lovida a friend of Thomas. When Hoerchner called Hill in July, uncertain of the name of Hill's harasser. Timing off. Little coordination between GOP Senators/Thomas's team. Hill misrepresented her departure from her first law firm. Possibly sexually harassed while at the Wald firm. Hill a Democrat--60 Minutes. Oral Roberts U--no tenure. Moved on to University of Oklahoma. OU student saw her as militantly anti-male obsessively concerned with race/gender. Televised Senate hearings not reliable way to discover the truth.


Brock, David, “The real Anita Hill : the untold story,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed December 6, 2022,


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The real Anita Hill : the untold story


Brock, David


Program air date: June 13, 1993.


More than a year and a half after the dramatic confrontation between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, opinions remain sharply divided on which one was telling the truth, and on the episode's significance and meaning for American society.Opinion polls conducted on the first anniversary of the hearings showed that public sentiment in Thomas' favor had weakened, while Anita Hill has become a national celebrity, a heroine credited with putting sexual harassment on the national agenda and thus a symbol of the feminist and civil rights movements who is said to have inspired a political "year of the woman." The press has characterized the Hill-Thomas confrontation as an impenetrable mystery whose truth can never be known - an American version of Rashomon. But journalist David Brock dissents from this conclusion. His investigation shows that while there may indeed be no way of knowing exactly what transpired between Thomas and Hill, a great many things can be known about Anita Hill that were not previously disclosed which sharply contradict her public image and raise serious doubts about her credibility. Brock corrects numerous misconceptions and introduces new factual evidence to answer many questions left open by a notably uninquisitive national press. In the course of his investigation, the official record of the Senate hearings is examined more carefully than the senators' histrionics and the distorting lights of national television cameras permitted at the time. Evidence is brought forth that has never before been made public, including sworn affidavits, confidential Senate interviews of witnesses, and sections of the FBI file on the Thomas nomination. Numerous details from the report of special investigator Peter Fleming on the leak of Hill's charges, veiled by a media blackout, are unsheathed. And new information gleaned from extensive interviews is reported. This book is not about whether Clarence Thomas should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Nor does it question whether sexual harassment is a genuine offense. Rather it seeks to determine whether sexual harassment occurred in this case. While partisans of Hill may remain unpersuaded, no matter what the weight of evidence suggests, Brock believes that after hearing all the facts, no reasonable reader will be able to conclude that it did.


"Thomas, Clarence, 1948-"
"Hill, Anita."
"United States. Supreme Court."
"Judges--Selection and appointment--United States."
"Sexual harassment of women--United States."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


Free Press
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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