About 10 days ago, Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas called Anita Hill and left a rather bizarre message on her answering machine.  She called at 7:30 am on a Saturday morning so it sounds like she wanted to leave a message and deliberately called when she didn’t think she would get Ms. Hill live.

Those of us who remember  Anita Hill’s  role in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings knew at the time that there was something going on that wasn’t quite what it should be.  Word around Washington travels fast and without mercy and the word on the street wasn’t good for old Clarence.  Washington, however, isn’t known for its right or wrong as much as it is for its can you prove it or not.  Thomas was confirmed by a 52 to 48 vote and the rest was history, or so we thought. 

At the time all this was going down, there were several women who did not testify.  Turns out they just weren’t good witnesses.  That happens a lot.  However, a new person has recently risen from the ashes:  Lillian McEwen.  Ms. McEwen was romantically involved with Thomas in the 80’s and has remained distant but not on bad terms with him since then.  According to McEwen:

In the Washington Post, Lillian McEwen says Hill’s allegations fit a pattern:

“He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners,” McEwen told the Post, adding that he was particularly “partial to women with large breasts” and even would ask woman about their bra size.

“He was obsessed with porn,” McEwen also said of Thomas, a claim that is particularly relevant to Hill’s allegations that the then-chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had repeatedly relayedscenes from pornographic movies to her. “He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting,” McEwen continued.

As for why McEwen has decided to break her silence now, the Postexplains that the woman who partook in Thomas’s “freewheeling sex life” between 1981 and 1986 has a story to tell.

Now are we surprised?  No.  Clarence Thomas fits the model for many men who have been sexual predators while on the job.   Would I take one person’s word for it?  No.  Not as an absolute.  However, I listened to Anita Hill and I knew she was telling the truth.  You just know some things.  That was one of them. 

Perhaps, more to the point is, does it really matter?  In the long run, does this behavior affect Thomas’ or any other judge’s ability to do his job?  Probably not.  I don’t like his rulings but I don’t think it is because he is a sexual predator.  Had women stepped forward in the early 90’s perhaps things would be different.  And no, he should not have been appointed with all that baggage.  But he was, so we must live with it.  His wife however, needs to come to grips with the fact that her husband might have some inappropriate behaviors.  She needs to deal with him and not go after former employees.  Ms. McEwen kept her mouth shut for nearly 20 years.  That speaks volumes.  Now she has nothing to lose or gain.

Something stirred up Ginni Thomas.  Women don’t call up 20 years later offering an olive branch while accusing some strange woman of saying horrible things about her husband.  Something riled her up.  Something big.  It sounds like maybe a few more people have a story to tell, or perhaps Ms. Ginni got some advanced notice that Lillian was looking for a pulisher.  Dirty little secrets don’t usually stay little or secrets around Washington.  Never have, never will. 

And this ladies and gentlemen, is why we always need to keep our profession behavior professional and our party behavior OUTSIDE THE WORK PLACE.   

31 Thoughts to “What Provoked Ginni?”

  1. Rick Bentley

    Thomas sounds like an even more interesting character now … from swinger to dutifully religious husband in 17 easy steps.

    Hill comes off very badly here. It’s a non-threatening phone message – she calls the police, AND requests the FBI be involved. Apparently a simple phone message to her at a publicly known phone number constitutes BRUTAL HARASSMENT.

    I shudder to think how she would have reacted had someone, say, gone into her office and left a pubic hair on a coke can or something. Maybe she would have requested that our government track them don and fire bomb their house?

    I would advise all trick or treaters to keep away from Prof. Hill’s house.

    Rumor has it someone recently called her to ask whether her refrigerator was running and whether it was too late to catch it; she’s hired private detectives to try to get to the source of this.

    The University she teaches at should probably give the Professor an “unlisted” campus number and some type of office space at an undisclosed “black box” facility. If not, it’s possible that she may someday receive another phone call that she does not want. Next time the CIA may need to get involved. In fact just recently she received a call at work regarding Amway and NSA is currently working to pinpoint the source of the call.

  2. Rick Bentley

    Honestly, either :

    A. She’s an unbalanced maniac
    B. She’s trying to sell copies of her book
    C. Both

  3. Well, you must really not like Anita Hill. That tends to run along gender lines. Rick, what do you think about this new woman mentioned in the thread article?

    ps Hill would have been nuts to have not to question her phone call. Turning it over to the Brandeis cops was exactly the right thing to do, in my mind.

  4. “In the long run, does this behavior affect Thomas’ or any other judge’s ability to do his job? Probably not.”

    Um, yes it does! He’s a judge, for goodness sake, and he’s breaking a federal law on sexual harassment.

    1. I am not so sure the laws then were as they are now. And I would agree with you that he should not have been appointed if there was sufficient evidence (and in my opinion, there was.) My question really was, does it matter now that he sexually harrassed women. Does that past history, and I hope it is, influence his ability to rule on cases now.

      I have a difficult time being unbiased because of how I felt during the Anita Hill testimony.

  5. Rick Bentley

    I read the interview with McEwen; it’s interesting and believable.

    I don’t have much against Hill; I don’t bear her any ill will for telling Congress, confidentially, about her experiences or perceived experiences. But this thing with the phone call is the strongest evidence yet that she’s nutty.

    PAP, Thomas is long confirmed. The Democrats in the Senate had the guts to leak Hill’s testimony and put her and Thomas through the wringer, but not the will to vote against him or filibuster. So what’s done is done. If he did harass Hill in your eyes or my eyes, she did as much as anyone to bury it by following him around and profiteering off her relationship with him year after year.

  6. Rick Bentley

    To some extent I think that high-tech lynching of an uppety negro is what happened, I think those on the left have been using him as a pinata in a way they never would were he more in line with them. I think it’s accurate to say they feared him, and “lynched” him. It was shameful to leak Hill’s testimony to the press (Howard metzenbaum did so).

  7. Morris Davis

    Rick Bentley :Thomas is long confirmed. … So what’s done is done.”

    Try telling that to Roger Clemens as he faces a trial on felony charges for lying to Congress a couple of years ago about steroids. As I recall, he and Clarence Thomas were equally indignant as they sat there under oath making their denials. I’ll go out on a limb and say that under similar circumstances if it was a justices other than one of the 5 activist Catholic conservatives (Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas) right wing insurgents would have soiled their shorts by now as they exploded in outrage demanding impeachment.

  8. Rick Bentley

    I don’t know. Kagan’s sex life for example seemed to be off-limits this time.

  9. Maybe she doesn’t have one to be on limits. @ Rick

  10. Rick, I am having an out of body experience over the Anita Hill testimony. You say it was leaked? What do you mean? It was a full testimony shown on TV. Have I misunderstood you?

    Moe, Sotomayor is also Catholic. 6 Catholics and 3 Jews. Strange balances.

  11. Rick Bentley

    Hill wanted the Senators to know her story before they voted, so she made overtures to tell them. It was to be dealth with in private, because obviously it was lurid and unlikely to derail his nomination, only to demean him and put her through the wringer. Senator Metzenbaum leaked details of Hill’s testimony to NPR. After the story started circulating in the media, the Democrats in the Senate voted to hold a second round of hearings, on this matter, even knowing that it would not derail his confirmation – only hurt his image.

    All through the hearings Biden (who chaired) kept speaking to how sad it was that this was happening in public.

  12. Actually Hill didn’t voluntarily step forward. She had told someone about her encounters with Thomas and someone told someone else.

    I certainly don’t think things like that should be kept secret. Transparency in govt. That isn’t that way I recall it but it has been a long time ago and I had many other things on my mind then…raising kids, going to work, paying a mortgage, blah blah blah.

    I remember Biden like it was yesterday though. Also I believe Arlen Spector was a key player. I can remembering not wanting to go to work so I could watch the testimony.

  13. Morris Davis

    The Constitution doesn’t say much about the Supreme Court other than there is one and the justices hold office “during good behavior.” The Constitution does not say what qualifications are required to be a justice or how many justices there are to be on the court. The first court had just 6 justices and at one point the number rose to a high of 10 at the start of the Civil War. The number has been set at 9 since 1869. Only one justice has ever faced impeachment, and that was more than 200 years ago when President Jefferson led the unsuccessful effort to impeach Justice Samuel Chase for, among other things, his “intemperate and inflammatory” comments. Those kinds of traits would qualify Chase for a spot on the Faux News team if one existed in 1805.

    As the final arbiter, ideally the justices would generally reflect American society. That has never been the case. For a long, long time it consisted solely of white male Protestants from the east. The current court is more diverse in terms of race and gender now than ever before, but, as you note they are all Catholic or Jewish, with 2/3 being Catholic (a slightly lower ratio than the PWC BOCS). They also all graduated from Ivy League law schools – 5 from Harvard, 3 from Yale and 1 from Columbia (Ginsburg attended Harvard before transferring to Columbia when her husband got a job in NYC or all 9 would have graduated from just 2 schools). Catholics and Jews make up about 25 percent of the US population and Yale, Harvard and Columbia account for about 2 percent of attorneys. Add to that 6 justices are from NY or NJ – 2 are from CA and 1 from GA. I’m sure there’s some way to calculate exactly how many Americans fit that demographic, but it has to be a very small number. So, regardless of your race, gender or political affiliation, if you’re not Catholic or Jewish, didn’t go to Harvard or Yale, and happed to be born anywhere east of Sacramento (Kennedy) and west of Buffalo (Roberts) – and area covering 2,500 miles – you are not going to be a Supreme Court justice.

    1. @Moe, interesting facts.

      You don’t even have to be an attorney to be on the Supreme Court, do you?

  14. Anita Hill’s op-ed in the NY Times after Clarence Thomas trashed her in his autobiography:


    I believe that men and women walk away with very different feelings about what really constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace, and therefore, they often have different views on this situation.

    I will never forget sitting at a lunch table with my boss and another male employee. The conversation was about the boss’s son and his girlfriend and totally inappropriate on so many levels. Neither of them blinked or even noticed I was sitting at the table. It wasn’t said to me or about me and perhaps that is the point.

    It never occurred to either of those 2 pigs that I was sitting there and that they shouldn’t have been talking like that in the first place. I finally said something…and not very politely. Different sensibilities or something. (and yes, it was very definitely a pig conversation.)

  15. Emma

    @Morris Davis What is an “activist Catholic conservative”? That’s quite the sound bite.

  16. to chime in here, not sure I could give a definition but I sure know where to go look if I wanted to see one and it wouldn’t be over at All Saints.

  17. Morris Davis

    It’s generally accepted that the Court has a liberal wing and a convervative wing, and the members of the conservative wing — Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy — are all Catholics, as is just Sotomayor on the liberal side. A few of the recent decisions where the conservative wing prevailed — campaign finance and gun control, in particular — are considered to reflect an activist agenda by some Supreme Court followers. In the Citizens United case, for instance, the Court overturned McCain-Feingold under unusual circumstances. The parties argued the issues they had raised and then later Chief Justice Roberts posed a new issue and had the party brief it and then argue a second time. So the terms activist, Catholic and conservative seem to describe Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy.

    1. @Moe, and I feel they are very much activist judges. Oh wait, silly me. Judges are only activist if they are liberal.

  18. @Morris Davis
    My understanding is that most Catholics believe the death penalty is immoral. Therefore, it seems to me Catholic justices would be FOR gun control. Are you saying it is otherwise?

  19. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    There are activist judges on both sides. You’re not focusing on the problem. When the court has too much power, it cuts BOTH ways.

  20. The court has always had power….as has the president and the congress.

  21. Emma

    @Morris Davis Except that none of those Catholic justices were appointed by Catholic presidents. Are you seeing some vast right-wing Papal conspiracy in court appointments?

    1. @ Emma

      The ghost of JFK appointed them. :mrgreen:

  22. Emma

    @Moon-howler Ahh, so now it all comes clear. It would make a great HBO miniseries, wouldn’t it?

  23. @Emma, sure would.

    Are you watching Sister Wives? I stopped watching because the husband was such an idiot. Just a jerk. Not a bad person, just a fool.

  24. Emma

    @Moon-howler No, I haven’t seen that. I’m getting my trash-TV fix with Nip/Tuck on Netflix now.

  25. It is worse than awful. I gave up trying to find anything redeeming. They just took on a 4th wife who cries all the time, over everything. Yawn.

    This TV season has not been impressive.

  26. Rick Bentley

    Anyone still with “Boardwalk Empire”? it’s getting slightly interesting now that Nucky is sleeping with the widow. She’s a well-drawn character.

  27. Rick Bentley

    BTW the best show on TV started this week, “In Treatment”.

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