Anita Hill Says Allegations Require 'Fair and Neutral' Investigations

Brett Kavanaugh arrives on the first day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Sept. 4 2018

Brett Kavanaugh arrives on the first day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Sept. 4 2018

Anita Hill, whose 1991 allegations of sexual harassment against a Supreme Court nominee foreshadowed the scene now playing out in D.C., said Tuesday that the Senate is no better prepared to vet claims against a nominee today than it was then.

The decision to have Thomas and Hill testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Kavanaugh and his accuser have offered to do, had far-reaching implications for American politics and society's efforts to grapple with sexual harassment in the workplace. It was still unclear on Wednesday whether Ford will testify at that hearing, following her lawyers' request that the FBI investigate her allegation before she speaks to lawmakers.

Ford has been asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify Monday, but her lawyers told the committee that Ford would like to see her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her over three decades ago investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation before she testifies to the the committee.

Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, came forward Sunday to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both high school teenagers in Maryland in the early 1980s. Biden said she insisted her name not be used and Thomas not be told of the accusations, effectively tying the committee's hands. "The Senate must recognize that investigations and public hearings are systemically stacked against survivors of sexual assault-in this case, shifting the burden from Kavanaugh, who has already lied to the Senate, to Ford, who has no reason to lie". Thomas denies the allegations. Both accusers initially sought to stay anonymous but later changed their minds.

She also suggested bringing in the testimony of experts "who can help them shape the questions they're going to ask".

She urged Senators not to rush the hearings, warning that a Monday deadline does not allow "enough time for meaningful inquiry into very serious charges".

She alleged that it happened when he was her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For one thing, the committee was made up of 14 white men, and there were only two women in the entire Senate at the time.

But on both sides of the aisle, there was wide agreement that the questioning of Thomas and Hill was not the Senate Judiciary Committee's finest hour.

The initial hope that the conservative Kavanaugh's appointment would encourage turnout by grateful GOP voters this fall has been tempered by new fears that more voters, especially independent women, might head to the polls with fresh anger about Republican handling of sexual impropriety after a new round of public hearings.

By comparison, the current committee has 11 Republicans, all men, and 10 Democrats, four of whom are women. One of those elected was Democratic Sen.

Ford is insisting that the FBI investigate her claims before she goes "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident".

October 15, 1991: The Senate confirms Thomas in a 52-48 vote, the narrowest margin in the 20th century.

"I know what their staffs' qualifications are", Hill said of the judiciary committee.

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