Tags: clarence | thomas | book

Anita Hill: Thomas' Book Is Beneath the Court

Wednesday, 03 Oct 2007 02:34 PM

Anita Hill is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' portrayal of her in his new book, saying he mischaracterizes her in a way that is "beneath the Court."

"It's very typical of how people who are charged with workplace misconduct respond," she says in a New York Times podcast posted on the newspaper's Web site Wednesday. "It's particularly troublesome, however, when it's done by a Supreme Court justice."

The justice's account, she charges, is rife with inconsistencies.

[Editor's Note: Get Clarence Thomas' book FREE — Go Here Now.]

"He's writing this in an effort to vindicate himself personally," she says. "But in doing so he's sending the message that this is how you respond to a complaint: Instead of dealing in fact, you deal in mischaracterization, and smear, and innuendo."

Specifically, Hill says she was not the liberal extremist Thomas suggests.

"I don't think any combative left winger would have survived at all in the Reagan administration," she says.

She also rejects the notion that she was a mediocre employee who was less than fully qualified for her position, and points out that she graduated from Yale, the same law school Thomas attended.

In his autobiography "My Grandfather's Son," Thomas writes at length about Hill, whose allegations nearly derailed his nomination to the high court in 1991.

Thomas, Hill says, is "trying to reinvent me."

"I don't know why he feels the need to vindicate himself," she says, "but I think that's what he is trying to do. But he does it in a way that is beneath the Court, and it is really beneath anyone who would be a competent arbiter of the truth, because he doesn't present any facts to support what he says."

Hill, a law professor at Brandeis University, adds that the book "sends the wrong message."

She tells The New York Times that the way she is portrayed in Thomas' book may discourage victims of sexual harassment from coming forward.

"I hope by speaking out, the message that we take away is that even if very powerful people try to destroy you, it is worth your dignity to defend your rights," she said in the podcast.

[Editor's Note: Get Clarence Thomas' book FREE — Go Here Now.]

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