Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill and I have some things in common

First of all, we all attended law school in the 1970’s – in fact, Anita Hill and I graduated in the same year.

What few people know about attending law school in the 1970’s was the “culture” in some law schools.

The Feminist Movement was very active on law school campuses but it was very different movement than the Feminist Movement of today.  Prior to the 1980’s, the Feminist Movement urged women to be like men in some aspects. One of these aspects was to watch and enjoy porn.  Law students of my time were socialized to accept porn not only in the dorms but in the classroom. Yale Law even had a porn film club that showed porn on campus.  Law students from the 1970’s had a very different attitude towards porn than law students of today.  Law students would openly discuss porn films in mixed company and those who objected were scorned.

Thus, claiming that Clarence Thomas was “sexually harrassing” Anita Hil by discussing a recently seen porn movie is farfetched.  Anita Hill most certainly saw porn movies while a student. If she had not, she would have been viewed as an “oddball.” The statement by Anita Hill that Clarence Thomas spoke about the porn movies he had seen is believable but not sexual harrassment in context. 

Clarence Thomas and I have one other thing in common – we both have been falsely accused  by an African-American woman. He was accused of sexual harrassment while I was accused of denying her of “equal terms, conditions and privileges of employment” based upon her race and color.  I was accused in September 1978 and, although all investigators from the New York State Division of Human Rights found no evidence of discrimination, the Division of Human Rights wanted me to sign a Conciliation Agreement in which I would appologize for my “unlawful discriminatory practices.”  Shades of Kafka!

I refused and, supported by my Director and Legal Counsel, demanded a hearing. After stalling for almost five years, the Division of Human Rights, on April 19, 1983, dismissed the charges.  As this matter was was not publicized, my reputation was not dragged through the mud as was that of Justice Thomas. 

When the charges were made against Clarence Thomas, I did not know who to believe.

I was on vacation during the Senate Hearing and watched the entire hearing. By this time, i was a seasoned investigator and had four years experience as an Administrative Law Judge. Based upon what I saw and heard during the hearing, tempered by my legal and historical knowledge and experience, Anita Hill and her chief witness, Susan Hoerchner, lied under oath.

Fact : Anita Hill claimed that she left her high paid position at a major Washington law firm because of “sexual harrassment.”

 Fact :  A former partner in the law firm made an affidavit stating that she was “asked to leave.”

Opinion : Anita Hill claimed “sexual harrassment” rather than admit that she had been found wanting.

Fact : Susan Hoerchner, then living and working in California, had one telephone conversation with Anita Hill in which Anita Hill complained of “sexual harrassment.”

Fact: Susan Hoerchner stated that Anita Hill mentioned “Clarence” as the harrasser in interviews with Senate investigators.

Fact : The single phone call was made before Anita Hill went to work for Clarence Thomas.

Opinion : All attorneys are aware of the problem with witnesses “filling in the blanks.” The human mind plays tricks and honest witnesses can be deceived by their own mind. 

When a disrepancy in the testimony is pointed out, an honest witness will admit the error. Susan Hoerchner, when a Senate attorney (possibly Janet Napolitano) pointed out the time discrepancy, Susan Hoerchner stood by her “testimony” but, at the Senate hearing, claimed that she was unsure of the date.  

As there was only one telephone call between Hill & Hoerchner, the telephone records could have been supeonad by the Senate committee but the Democratic majority was refusing to issue supeonas.

Fact : Anita Hill followed Clarence Thomas from one govement position to another. If he was sexually harrassing her, she could have stayed on in her old job – the incoming director speciffically asked her to stay.

Fact : Victims of sexual harrassment do not follow the harrasser from office to office. Yet Anita Hill followed Clarence Thomas.

Opinion : When Susan Hoerchner made her mistake and notified the Democratic Senate investigators, Anita Hill could have simply stated that Ms.Hoerchner was mistaken. However, she allowed herself to be persuaded to submit her harrassment charge when assured by the Democratic Senate investigators that her identity would be protectd and that Clarence Thomas would withdraw his name rather than have his reputation ruined.

Fact : Nita Totenberg of NPR “outed” Anita Hill after a Democratic Senate investigator leaked her name.

Fact : Anita Hill, not Clarence Thomas, was in big trouble. Having made charges against Thomas in a sworn affidavit, she faced the loss of her university position, disbarment and, possibly, a term in jail.

Opinion : Having been given false information by the Democratic Senate investigators about her attempt at character assignation, Anita Hill had no choice but to go to the Senate hearing and  lie. Her whole career was at stake.