Celebrating 25 Years of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court: His Close Friend Spills the Beans

clarence-thomasOctober 23 marks Clarence Thomas’s 25th anniversary as a Supreme Court Justice. I spoke with his longtime friend Mark Paoletta about his legacy. Paoletta got to know Thomas while serving as Assistant White House Counsel to President George H. W. Bush, where he was central to the campaign to get Thomas confirmed to the high court. Paoletta is now in private practice in Washington, D.C., and spends time with Thomas and his wife Virginia.

The Confirmation

I asked Paoletta how they were able to get Thomas confirmed, considering the Reagan administration’s failure to convince Senate Democrats to confirm conservative Robert Bork. The attacks on Thomas began as soon as he was nominated. It was like “whack-a-mole,” he said, fighting accusations as soon as they popped up. To his credit, Bush never gave up on Thomas’s confirmation.

But nothing, he continued, “prepared us for fabrication by Anita Hill.” She alleged that Thomas had sexually harassed her when she worked for him. Refuting the accusation was difficult because they had to prove a negative. 

Both sides of the Senate Judiciary committee decided there was not enough evidence against Thomas. After political maneuvering designed to embarrass Thomas, the committee held open hearings, broadcast over C-SPAN, so everyone could watch them, unfiltered by the media.

“Her testimony didn’t add up. She was not telling the truth,” Paoletta said. The American people agreed. They believed Thomas by more than 2-1. And there was no gender gap: Only 26 percent of women believed Hill. The Washington Post ran an editorial saying she had had a low bar to hurdle and didn’t even do that.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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