Clarence Thomas: A Silent Justice Speaks Out

After five days of testimony, the hearings concluded and Thomas and his wife escaped for the weekend for Cape May, N.J. The day after he returned, White House lawyer Lee Liberman called Thomas to tell him the FBI was sending two agents to talk to him. She said she could not tell him what it was about.

Thomas wrote that he paced around the house "like a caged animal," not knowing what to expect but fearing the worst. The FBI agents arrived later that morning.

"Do you know a woman named Anita Hill?" one asked.

"Yes, of course," Thomas responded.

"Did you ever make sexual advances to her or discuss pornography with her?"

"Absolutely not," Thomas wrote.

Thomas wrote that he was "astonished" and "couldn't believe what I was hearing."

The agents, he wrote, then read aloud "vague, unsupported allegations of some unspecified sexual misconduct by me." They asked whether Hill had contacted him after leaving EEOC, and Thomas said she had in fact called him regularly. They asked if he wanted to date her.

"My goodness, no," Thomas wrote of his response, adding the question would have been "laughable if the situation hadn't been so deadly serious."

The agents told Thomas the allegations were being investigated across the country, even as they spoke. They then departed, "leaving me shaken and demoralized," Thomas wrote, and he rushed to call Virginia in her office.

She asked whether there was "anything more she needed to know about my relationship with Anita Hill," Thomas wrote. "'Nothing,' I said."

Thomas explained that he'd hired her at his friend Gil Hardy's urging and had done his best to help her, and how she'd "stormed out of my office… complaining I preferred light-complexioned women" when he promoted Allyson Duncan, now a federal appeals court judge, to be his chief of staff instead of Hill.

"I never had any doubt, because I know all the people in his life. I know what he's been like," Virginia says. "It was surprising and it was unusual, but so had been a number of charges up to that point. So it just felt like the next one coming, OK, now what do we do with this?"

Thomas wrote that he could not comprehend why Hill would make the allegations. He wrote that she was "touchy and apt to overreact," and that if "I or anyone else had done the slightest thing to offend her, she would have complained loudly and instantly." He also wrote that he had found her political views — she said she "detested" Reagan — "stereotypically left of center and uninformed."

Thomas wrote that he was "one of the least likely candidates imaginable for such a charge," and that he had insisted on a professional and respectful workplace. "My reputation was spotless."

The FBI finished its confidential report and distributed it to the Senators on the Judiciary Committee, which was set to vote that Friday, Sept. 27. Thomas met privately with Sen. Arlen Specter, the maverick Pennsylvania Republican, who told him Hill's statement to the FBI left him with the impression that Hill "thought I was interested in her romantically, since I wasn't dating anybody at the time."

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