Echoes of Anita Hill in #MeToo allegation against Kavanaugh

Flashback Anita Hill's explosive opening statement

Anita Hill - who testified at the 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after accusing him of sexual harassment - spoke out about the upcoming hearing over the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Eleanor Holmes Norton sees a version of history repeating itself. "It was really a disservice to every one of us - not just on behalf of sexual harassment victims but also on behalf of those people who believe in the integrity of the court and that it should be protected by the Senate, whose role is to advise on judicial nominations".

September 23, 1991: Biden says in a statement reported in the Times that this is the date on which Hill agreed to allow the FBI to investigate the allegations. But there are important differences as well as cautions for senators considering how to deal with the allegations. "I owe her an apology", said Biden, a Democrat.

Thomas ultimately prevailed by a narrow vote of 52-48, and sits on the Supreme Court to this day.

"After Ford came out publicly, someone Politico identified as "a lawyer close to the White House" said that 'if somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be anxious.' As far as this administration is concerned, to allow Brett Kavanaugh to face consequences for one woman's story - no matter what documents she has or how many people she told no matter how many years ago - would simply set a bad precedent".

"Dr. Ford may have been forced into the limelight against her will, just as Anita Hill was, but the treatment she receives should be different", wrote Lapidus.

"All of this is really something that I don't think can be avoided if you really want to get to the truth, if that's the goal of this hearing", Hill said Wednesday, after writing a similar New York Times op-ed this week urging lawmakers not to repeat the mistakes they made 27 years ago. She is not simply "Judge Kavanaugh's accuser", Hill writes.

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Hill, it should be noted, said in an ABC interview on Wednesday that "Absolutely it's the right move [to conduct an FBI investigation]" because the hearing questions "need to have a frame, and the investigation is the best frame for that". The lawmaker felt "we must hear from this woman". Republicans now control the committee.

"You will understand exactly what you have to do".

"There were only two women senators before the Hill/Thomas hearings, now there are 23". One of those elected was Democratic Sen. Both are now slated to testify at a public hearing on Monday - a situation that has elicited comparisons to Hill's testimony, where she faced intense scrutiny and changed the national conversation about sexual harassment. Feinstein has defended herself, noting that Ford had initially asked to keep the allegations confidential.

Senate Democrats have cited past delays, unfulfilled records requests, and legal issues related to Trump as reasons to hold back the Kavanaugh nomination.

No matter what happens next, Norton noted, "The public will be looking very carefully at how this is handled".


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