Remember Anita Hill? She was a lawyer who worked for Clarence Thomas in the early 1980s. When Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991, Judiciary Committee Democrats tried to block him by claiming he was a scary right-winger. This failed, so they trotted out Hill, who claimed that years earlier Thomas had made some dirty jokes. People didn't believe her, and he was confirmed. End of story--until now.
Justice Thomas has a new book out, "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" (buy it from the OpinionJournal bookstore). Yesterday found us at the Heritage Foundation, which hosted a dinner for Thomas and some two dozen journalists and bloggers. We can't remember if the Hill kerfuffle came up during the conversation; certainly it was not central to it. But it is mentioned in the book, and a result, the media have trotted out Hill, now a professor of "women's studies."
Today she appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America," where interviewer Robin Roberts invited her to apologize to Justice and Mrs. Thomas. She refused. Hill also has an op-ed in today's New York Times in which she defends herself against what the Times headline writer characterizes as a "smear." We did not expect to be persuaded, but even we were surprised to find that her defense actually reinforces Thomas's description of her. She writes:Justice Thomas's characterization of me is also hobbled by blatant inconsistencies. He claims, for instance, that I was a mediocre employee who had a job in the federal government only because he had "given it" to me. He ignores the reality: I was fully qualified to work in the government, having graduated from Yale Law School (his alma mater, which he calls one of the finest in the country), and passed the District of Columbia Bar exam, one of the toughest in the nation.
So Hill's answer to Thomas's assertion that she was a mediocre employee is to cite her law degree from Yale. In his book, Thomas describes an incident in which she similarly mistook credentials for competence. It happened in 1983, when Thomas's chief of staff at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sought a transfer (pages 172-73):I knew I needed to replace him with someone who had a strong background in equal-employment opportunity policy, and I thought at once of Allyson Duncan and Bill Ng. Neither one had asked to be promoted, though it was obvious that they were the most qualified candidates on my personal staff. Instead it was Anita who approached me about the job, telling me that she deserved it because she'd gone to Yale Law School. (Allyson had gone to Duke University, Bill to Boston College.) It would have been hard for her to come up with an argument less likely to sway me, and it confirmed my feeling that she wasn't cut out to be a supervisor.
And if, as Hill claims, Thomas has ever said that Yale Law is "one of the finest in the country," you wouldn't know it from reading his book. Thomas writes that he had trouble finding work in law firms after graduation--because, he believes, of the stigma of "affirmative action." He finally found a job in the office of Missouri's Attorney General John Danforth. From pages 99-100:I'd learned the hard way that a law degree from Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much anyone denied it; I couldn't do anything about that now, but I had a feeling that winning real cases in court would be a better demonstration of what I could do than a law school transcript. As a symbol of my disillusionment, I peeled a fifteen-cent price sticker off a package of cigars and stuck it on the frame of my law degree to remind myself of the mistake I'd made by going to Yale. I never did change my mind about its value. Instead of hanging it on the wall of my Supreme court office, I stored it in the basement of my Virginia home--with the sticker still in the frame.
Another of Hill's claims is contradicted by the book:In a particularly nasty blow, Justice Thomas attacked my religious conviction, telling "60 Minutes" this weekend, "She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed." Perhaps he conveniently forgot that he wrote a letter of recommendation for me to work at the law school at Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa.
In fact, he discusses the letter of recommendation on pages 171-73. He writes that Hill "had been nagging me to write" it, even as he was mourning his beloved grandparents, "and the sooner I did it, the sooner she'd be out of my hair."
It seems clear that before writing this op-ed, Hill didn't even bother reading the book. Having a law degree from Yale doesn't mean you no longer have to do your homework. We have no way of independently evaluating her performance at EEOC, but to call her a mediocre op-ed writer would be generous.
As she was in her legal work before being anointed by the lyin' left, she is sloppy and dishonest. But she is an entitlement child and thus a perfesser at Brandeis.
No homework for her.