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Why Did Virginia Thomas Call Anita Hill After All This Time?

3 years ago
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Nearly two decades after their "she said, he said" public battle, Anita Hill and Justice Clarence Thomas are back in the news. The reason? Thomas' wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, left a voice mail message seeking an apology from Hill, who accused her husband of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991.

The bizarre incident has sparked speculation as to why Ginni Thomas decided to contact Hill after all these years.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Jansing & Company" Wednesday morning, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Eugene Robinson said, "One gets the sense this is just something that's been eating at her for nearly two decades."

It's not hard to imagine that the confirmation hearings might still eat at Thomas' family members. Writing about his mother in his 2007 memoir, "My Grandfather's Son," Thomas noted: "Between the day President Bush announced his intention of nominating me to the end of my testimony, she lost more than thirty pounds as a result of stress and worry."

Other pundits have been less generous than Robinson in speculating why Ginni Thomas might have picked up the phone.

Journalist Karen Hunter, also appearing on MSNBC, countered, "It'll probably come out that she was in an Ambien stupor -- or maybe she's taping a reality TV show."

The call to Hill comes on the heels of other news about Ginni Thomas, who has become a major player in politics since founding a nonprofit "Tea Party" organization called Liberty Central Inc., which, in part, targets President Obama's "tyranny" and tries to influence the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Ginni Thomas, an attorney, has for more than three decades worked in Washington for conservative institutions such as Hillsdale College, the Heritage Foundation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But until founding Liberty Central in January, her activism was not widely known.

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Even before the voice mail, her involvement with Liberty Central sparked controversy, as its 501 (c)(4) tax status means it is not required to disclose donors, a point that some critics view as a potential conflict of interest for her husband. The New York Times noted that the group's first contributions of $500,000 and $50,000 came from undisclosed donors and recently editorialized that, "Justice Thomas needs disclosure to know if either of those donors is a party in a case before the Supreme Court or has an interest in a party."

Typically, justices and their spouses eschew such political activity, in order to preserve the appearance of nonpartisanship, and of transcending the pettiness of politics.

According to her bio on the group's Web site, "Ginni, the 'proud' Nebraskan, is a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham and other talk radio hosts. She is intrigued by Glenn Beck and listening carefully. She also enjoys motor homing and watching '24'."

That's the present, this is the past: During the exhaustive, nationally televised Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, Hill accused him of harassing her sexually when he was her boss. Thomas was ultimately confirmed to the high court, but the accusation divided the nation and left scars that have clearly not healed. At the time, Justice Thomas described her testimony as "a high-tech lynching."

Ginni Thomas' Oct. 9 voice mail reignited the story.

According to a transcript published by ABC News, Ginni Thomas' message asked Hill to "consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband." She also asked Hill to "give it some thought and certainly pray about this." Hill, a professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., called campus security, which then called the FBI.

Through a spokesman, Ginni Thomas acknowledged making the call, and described it as "extending an olive branch to [Hill] after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago."
For her part, Hill said in a statement released to the AP that she thought the call was inappropriate.
"I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony."
Filed Under: Supreme Court

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182 Comments

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Kaci

This was all political. She wanted 15 minutes of fame. She knew that Hill told the truth, how many books have been written about the back room deals that went on behind the scenes? The guy that railroaded Hill came out with a book, saying he was sorry. Thomas wants recognition for Tea Party and thought she would use Hill again, hoping the voters were stupid enough not to have read all those books on Clarence Thomas porn charges. Sorry Ginny, I did read the books.

October 25 2010 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cindy

I for one remember Anita Hill sitting in that HOT SEAT. I do not believe she would have put herself in that situation, if her former boss had not said those things. I commend her for standing up for women all over the world. I have always believed her. I truly wish these (TEA PARTY) women would stop trying to push women's rights back to past. MOVE FORWARD NOT BACKWARDS! Mrs. Thomas needs to appoligize for her harrassment.

October 24 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dnealesq

Clarence Thomas. Other than me, is anyone else old enough to remember when Supreme Court justices were brilliant jurists and kept their private lives and opinions discreet? Now, we have the likes of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. While Scalia is bright, he makes no secret of his political and personal views. Both appointees were to reward the know-nothing wing of the Republican Party. As a result, the reputation and effectiveness of the Supreme Court is compromised.

October 22 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Baldy

Nineteen years!!!!!! Anita appologise its the proper thing to do, since he won you lost it means the folks who listened did not believe you.... You can stick to your gun all you want, you are always going to be seen as the one who tried to tint an "honest man" Her burdens are many, you are only a tiny part of it.... Do it and move on

October 21 2010 at 9:28 PM Report abuse -17 rate up rate down Reply
rosemaryram

It is clearly time, after two decades, to let things go and get on with life. We cannot control other people's perspective as Anita Hill considered Clarence Thomas's actions as sexual harrassment, while others would not. I wonder what Mrs. Thomas's motives are for dragging this unpleasant piece of history back into the forefront again. Are her old wounds not healing, or is she seeking some free publicity for a book, or a reality show? Makes you wonder.

October 21 2010 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
tomkellycartoons

Well, this is just one more reason so many people are so disenchanted with our political process. Many people at the time thought that Thomas' confirmation glossed over serious issues. And now this? Mrs. Thomas' "extension of an olive branch" was so clearly NOT this, I personally wondered how she could even entertain such a notion. And, she listens to Limbaugh and his ilk? Frightening! Ms. Hill's actions at the time showed extraordinary courage. Both the Thomas' actions suggest something else entirely...in my opinion.

October 21 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
lgnu

Apparently Ginni Thomas is concerned that her political activities and receipt of contributions is becoming a problem so to distract attention she called Anita Hill as a distraction. I don't think that is going to work.

October 21 2010 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
jabaileydc

I'm glad Anita Hill called security and the FBI got involved. She doesn't need to be harrassed by this woman, especially if Ginni has an ulterior motive!

October 21 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
cramseygun

This seems like a cry for attention or publicity on the part of Mrs. Thomas. If between the two of them the need for an apology exists , the request should be registered by the Justice. Why not let the two parties who are involved workout these matters. It appears that the Justice is incapable of speaking and that he is sending his wife out to do his dirty work .This is similar to the days of slavery when the the Master would require the Slave women to deliver punishment on their behalf to the Master's wife . The reference that the now Justice made to a high tech lynching during the confirmation hearings indicates that his mentality is that of a current day black who suffers from the worst form of what has been coined as post traumatic slave sydrome. My heart goes out to his wife , who in this instance is showing just how impacted one can become by simply being intimately involved with one who is so traumatized. I hope that the Thomas's can get the help that they both so desperately are crying out for.

October 21 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
boguswoody

Ginni Thomas is essentially accusing Anita Hill of lying and is demanding that she confess to same. An accusation of lying is an olive branch?

October 21 2010 at 2:35 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

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