History Repeating Itself: The Case of Anita Hill

          Day after day, the tense climate is increasing on the twenty members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in charge of overseeing the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The presidential candidate Donald Trump will appear for a public hearing on September 24, at the same time as Christine Blasey Ford, in order to examine the sexual assault allegations made against him, back to the years 1980.

         This hearing echoes an astonishingly similar case. That year, the U.S. Senate heard Judge Clarence Thomas, George HW Bush’s candidate for entry to the Supreme Court, and one of his former colleagues, Anita Hill, who accused him of sexual harassment. On October 11, 1991, Anita Hill was also heard by the Senate committee in similar circumstances. Faced with an exclusively male audience, she accused the Conservative magistrate, for whom she worked in the 1980s, of repeatedly making inappropriate remarks, including describing pornographic films. The hearing was watched by 20 million people, and the judge denied it all, denouncing a racist lynching. The senators all asked Anita Hill questions such as: “Are you an activist?” or “Are you credible? At the end of this hearing, Judge Thomas obtained a favorable vote (52 votes in favor, 48 against). He still sits on the Supreme Court today.

         Anita Hill might have lost her battle, but she became an inspiration for many. The year 1992 was entitled “Women’s Year,” as a record number of women entered Congress. And the number of complaints of sexual harassment at work doubled in the following years. Let’s not allow history repeat itself and not allow Kavanaugh to sit in the highest judicial organ of the U.S. 

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