‘I resented that she told the public that if you didn’t side with Kavanaugh that he deserved to be innocent until proven guilty…’
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Law professor Anita Hill may not willingly give up her status as queen of the unlikely sexual-affront allegation.
Hill—whose claims that her one-time boss Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her in the 1980s nearly derailed Thomas’ 1991 confirmation to the Supreme Court—spoke this week at a special #MeToo course for a gender studies professor at the University of Southern California Dornsife.
There, Hill weighed in on the recent confirmation hearing for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which Kavanaugh was wildly accused of a series of decades-old sex-related misbehaviors.
After outlining a series of accusatory questions she would have liked to ask Kavanaugh, Hill blasted Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins for voting to confirm Kavanaugh and insinuated that Collins’s decision was purely political, rather than based on the merits.
“I think I would have been more accepting if she had said that ‘this is a political decision that I’m going to make,’” Hill said, as reported by an internal publication of the college. “I resented her saying that Christine Blasey Ford couldn’t tell who her assailant was. I resented that she told the public that if you didn’t side with Kavanaugh that he deserved to be innocent until proven guilty because that didn’t apply to a confirmation hearing. It had no application there.”
According to the online publication The Wrap, which also covered the event, Hill also added this: “I resented that Sen. Susan Collins would tell Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that [the senator] would know who [Ford’s] assailant was better than [Ford] did.”
Collins, of course, did no such thing. Instead, in a comprehensive, meticulous, fact-heavy Senate floor speech, Collins laid out her entire thought process in reaching her decision to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
She did not say she knew better than Ford herself who the [alleged] “assailant” was. Instead, she said this:
“I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life.” And then she said that despite that, there was enough uncertainty about the assailant’s identity – indeed a stark lack of any “corroborating evidence” and a lot of reason to think perhaps it wasn’t Kavanaugh—that she “cannot abandon” certain “fundamental legal principles—about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness.”
She said she did not know who might have assaulted Ford, but that the evidence that it had indeed been Kavanaugh “fail[ed] to meet the ‘more likely than not’ standard.”
In essence, that’s the same standard that proved far too high a hurdle for Hill’s own allegations against Thomas in 1991. Much of the media for decades has portrayed Hill as a heroine who was terribly wronged, but polls immediately after the Hill-Thomas hearings showed the public overwhelmingly disbelieved her.
For those who missed those hearings, or forgot the details, columnist Thomas Sowell later summed up just a few of the reasons Hill’s allegations were not deemed credible. [Emphases added.]
“A whole phalanx of female witnesses who had worked with both Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill came out in support of him at his confirmation hearings. One of those witnesses went out of her way to point out that the image that Anita Hill projected on television bore no resemblance to the behavior and attitudes of either Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas that she had seen with her own eyes. On the other side, one witness backed up Anita Hill’s story by saying that she had been told the same things by Anita Hill when they both lived in Washington. But then the fact came out that this star witness had left Washington before Anita Hill went to work for Clarence Thomas, so there was no way that her corroboration could be true.”
In fact, that witness, a California workers compensation judge named Susan Hoerchner, so embarrassed herself with the impossible timeline that Hill’s lawyer, Janet Napolitano, suddenly demanded a break in the hearing so she could confer with Hoerchner to get Hoerchner to withdraw the timeline—presumably, some thought, to avoid a charge of perjury.
Even Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, one of the most liberal Republicans in the U.S. Senate in decades, found Hill’s own testimony so lacking in credibility that he accused her, too, of “flat-out perjury.” And Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah found that Hill’s testimony on some details seemed bizarrely to copy details from an earlier court case and from literature.
And those were only a few of the reasons Hill’s allegations were found far less than strong enough to block Thomas’ nomination.
Still, Hill to this day insists not only that her own claims were true, but (it seems) that her experience should serve as a template for why women should be believed.
As reported (and paraphrased) by The Wrap, Hill said “there is still much work to be done, such as exploring how sexual assault impacts the lives of transgender women of color and others who are not the stereotypical image of a rape victim—a young, attractive, white woman.”