I’d forgotten all about her until Kate Phillips, who, judging by her rhetoric, holds a grudge against older women, discussed it on the NYT’s Caucus blog. I was a teen at the time, but I followed along as best I could via nightly news and newspapers. I wasn’t able to catch it all live on C-Span, so the videos are truly astounding. Here’s the first one, the intro into Biden’s questioning of Thomas. Watch how he stumbles all over the opening, because he obviously doesn’t want to have to go through this, this sexism bullshit. He also basically calls Anita Hill a liar to Thomas’s face. If you aren’t outraged right now, you will be after viewing this:
Interestingly, I could find no YouTube videos of Anita Hills’ testimony, though I searched for them. If anyone can find one, I’d be much obliged if you would post it in comments.
One money quote from the Phillips article:
“He was basically playing judge,” Susan Deller Ross, a Georgetown University law professor and expert in workplace sex discrimination said of Mr. Biden, adding “the other side was playing advocate” for Mr. Thomas. “I’m sure you remember nobody played advocate for her. I don’t think he did well and he bears responsibility for Mr. Thomas being on the court.”
Ms. Ross, who was one of the lawyers assisting Ms. Hill, asserts that Mr. Biden treated Mr. Thomas too even-handedly because of the racially charged nature of the hearings. (Remember Justice Thomas’ charge that he had been subjected to a “high-tech lynching.”) Ms. Ross said that Mr. Biden “was accused of being labeled racist, so the Republicans were blackmailing him and he pushed the levers to make the case look like there wasn’t a case when there was.”
From not permitting other witnesses like Angela Wright to testify who would have been favorable to Ms. Hill, to not permitting affidavits from an expert on whether a pattern of behavior needed to be established to prove sexual harassment, Ms. Ross concluded: “He did everything to make it be good for Thomas and to slant it against her.” (Mr. Biden and his staff at times indicated that Ms. Wright and others weren’t willing to testify, but the record and books written since appear contradictory, as these women were held waiting in the wings for days.)
Bolding mine. How many times will we let them fail us on the court before we demand something different?
I was too young to figure this out at the time, but I would bet that Biden’s sudden decision to embrace his inner feminist in the early 1990s, and his compulsion to draft the Violence Against Women Act is directly related to fallout over the Anita Hill matter. He’d lost major support among women, rightfully so. So when they come touting–and they will–his record via the VAWA, you just remember that he was playing politics with that sure as he was playing politics with Hill and Thomas. He was sycophantically making up for major lack of judgment on his part. He’ll get no sympathy from me.
Bonus Video: Check out Arlen Specter vilifying Anita Hill. Transparent putz.
So much for light posting today, eh? I feel the excitement already. And I’m avoiding grading papers…..