The Corner

Anita Hill, Ctd.

An email:

You say of Clarence Thomas:

“And if he was telling the truth back then—which is what my reading of the evidence suggests— then why shouldn’t he be a little bitter?”

I think many of your readers would be fascinated if you were to offer an analysis of the evidence, even a brief one. Ruth Marcus in today’s Post makes a pretty good case against Thomas; most defenses of him — e.g., Matthew J. Franck’s today in “Bench Memos” — have not dealt with those who testified to hearing Hill complain about him at the time.

Although I am glad Justice Thomas is on the Court, to me the most favorable reading of the evidence is that he was tactless and prone to rationalization and that she was oversensitive. If you can outline a more complete exoneration, I’d be grateful, and I imagine others would be.

I think Andrew Peyton Thomas’s biography of Thomas is where I’d go if I were you. Here’s what I wrote about his discussion of Hill in my review of that biography:

Andrew Thomas observes that Specter’s “cross-examination of Anita Hill would serve as both roadmap and foundation for all subsequent analysis of Hill’s charges.” Hill was evasive or self-contradictory about her alleged fears of losing her job while working for Thomas and about her dealings with Democratic staffers. Two FBI agents disputed her account of their interview of her. And Hill has been slippery ever since. (These conclusions do not rely on David Brock’s book on Hill, which is good since Brock himself has called the book’s credibility into question.) The author also notes that Hill’s charges do not fit with what we know of Thomas’s personality. He is less persuasive in speculating about what Hill’s motives were in defaming Thomas.

The book is, as my review also points out, pretty tough on the justice in a lot of other respects.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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