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Pro-Thomas Excerpts: ‘Not the Anita Hill That I Knew’

From Associated Press

Here are excerpts from Sunday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court and Anita Faye Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment . (J.C. Alvarez, former special assistant to Thomas)

I was just before this committee a couple of weeks ago speaking in support of Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court. I was then and I still am in favor of Clarence Thomas being on the Supreme Court.

After the hearings, I flew back to Chicago, back to being John Q. Public. . . . I needed to come here like I needed a hole in the head.

So why did I come? . . . Because, Senators, like most real Americans who witness a crime being committed, who witness an injustice being done, I could not look the other way and pretend that I did not see it . . . you have robbed a man of his name, his character, and his reputation.

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I don’t know how else to say it, but I have to tell you that it just blew my mind to see Anita Hill testifying on Friday. Honest to goodness, it was like schizophrenia. That was not the Anita Hill that I knew and worked with at EEOC.

On Friday, she played the role of a meek, innocent, shy Baptist girl from the South, who was a victim of this big, bad man. I don’t know who she was trying to kid, because the Anita Hill that I knew and worked with was nothing like that.

She was a very hard, tough woman. She was opinionated. She was arrogant. She was a relentless debater. And she was the kind of woman who always made you feel like she was not going to be messed with, like she was not going to take anything from anyone. She was aloof, and she always acted as if she was a little bit superior to everyone, a little holier-than-thou. I can recall at the time that she had a view of herself and her abilities that did not seem to be based in reality.

(Nancy Elizabeth Fitch, special assistant to Thomas at the EEOC, 1982-1989)

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In these nine years (working for Thomas), I have known Clarence Thomas to be a person of great integrity, morally upstanding, professional, a decent person and exemplary boss.

I would like to say Judge Thomas, besides being a person of great moral character, I found to be a most intelligent man.

Sen. Biden was correct yesterday when he indicated that the Republican side of the panel might have overlooked its easiest defense, that of dealing with the Judge’s intelligence.

If these allegations, which I believe to be completely unfounded and vigorously believe unfounded, were true, we would be dealing not only with venality, but with abject stupidity with the person shooting himself in the foot, having given someone else the gun to use at any time. There is no way

(Diane Holt, Thomas’ secretary at EEOC, 1982-87)

I met Prof. Hill in the summer of 1981 when she came to work at the Department of Education as attorney adviser to Judge Thomas.

When we arrived at the EEOC, because we knew no one else there, Prof. Hill and I quickly developed a professional relationship, a professional friendship, often having lunch together.

At no time did Prof. Hill intimate, not even in the most subtle of ways, that Judge Thomas was asking her out or subjecting her to the crude, abusive conversations that have been described, nor did I ever discern any discomfort when Prof. Hill was in Judge Thomas’ presence.

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Additionally, I never heard anyone at any time make any reference to any inappropriate conduct in relation to Clarence Thomas.

(Phyllis Berry, former special assistant to Thomas at EEOC)

Clarence Thomas’ behavior toward Anita Hill was no more, no less than his behavior toward the rest of his staff. He was respectful, demanding of excellence in our work, cordial, professional, interested in our lives and our career ambitions.

Anita Hill indicated to me that she had been a primary adviser to Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education. However, she seemed to be having a difficult time on his EEOC staff as being considered just one of many, especially on a staff where others were as equally or more talented than she.

I have known Clarence Thomas in times of his darkest moments and in his shining triumphs. I’ve had a role in most of his confirmation battles, none of which have ever been easy. In that capacity, I have been privy to the most intimate details of his life.

In all that time, never, never has anyone raised allegations such as Anita has. Clarence Thomas, whom I admire and greatly respect, is a fine and decent man. He does not deserve this savaging of his character, of his reputation, of his honor. He does not deserve this.

A Conspiracy?

(Questioning by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)

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Leahy: Let me ask Ms. Alvarez, when you worked with Clarence Thomas, how much of a typical day did you spend with him?

Alvarez: Sometimes I saw him once a day, sometimes I didn’t see him at all, sometimes more than once. There was really no typical day..

Leahy: And so there could have been times he could have had discussions with Anita Hill that you would not have been there.

Alvarez: Oh, absolutely.

Leahy: So you don’t know from personal knowledge whether Prof. Hill is telling the truth or not.

Alvarez: No, sir.

Leahy: Did you ever know of Judge Thomas dating any member of the staff?

Holt: No, sir.

Leahy: Do you have any personal knowledge that Prof. Hill is a part of a conspiracy to stop this nomination?

Berry: I don’t have any personal knowledge that Anita is a part of a conspiracy. I think she’s allowed herself to become a pawn in this process.

(Questioning by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah)

Hatch: Have any of you ever seen anything or seen him do anything or have heard him accused of doing anything like what Prof. Hill has articulated here before this committee?

Witnesses in four individual responses: No, sir.

Hatch: After any meeting or lunch between Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, did you ever notice anything about Ms. Hill . . . in her behavior, her moods, or simply the way she looked that ever led you to believe that anything unusual . . .

Holt: Never.

Alvarez: They always appeared to be very professional with one another. That was the way Clarence demanded it.

Berry: I don’t remember any time them having anything that was more than professional, cordial, friendly. She always indicated that she admired and respected the man.

(Questions by Sen. Howell Heflin (D-Ala.)

Heflin: Now, Ms. Berry, have you made any statements that suggested that the allegations of Anita Hill were the result of Ms. Hill’s disappointment and frustration that Mr. Thomas didn’t show any sexual interest in her?

Berry: That’s what I said.

Heflin: What were the facts pertaining to that?

Berry: Just my observations of Anita wishing to have greater attention from the chairman. I think she was used to that . . . wanting to have direct access to his office as though she had a right to have access to his office, speaking in just highly, highly admirable terms toward the chairman in a way sometimes that didn’t indicate just a professional interest. Those were my impressions.

Heflin: What you just related, are you saying that those set of circumstances made you to believe she had a sexual interest?

Berry: That she had a crush on the chairman? Yeah.

(Questioning by Sen. Hatch)

Hatch: In your statement you noted that Prof. Hill was “not a team player” “and appeared to have her own agenda.,” Could you elaborate on that?

Alvarez: She liked to do things her way. And . . . she gave me the impression that she kind of had her own agenda.

Hatch: From your experience working with Prof. Hill and Judge Thomas at the EEOC, did Prof. Hill think that she had some sort of a special relationship with Judge Thomas?

Alvarez: Yeah, she used to give that impression.

Hatch: Well, let me ask you this. Do any of you believe her testimony here?

Holt: I do not believe a word. Not one word.

Fitch: Senator, I don’t believe it either.

Berry: So, it seems to me that if she could tell the truth on--not tell the truth on one thing, she could not tell the truth on another.

Alvarez: I cannot believe one word of her testimony.

‘She Knew How He Thought’

(Questioning by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.)

Biden: How do you know she wasn’t aloof from him?

Alvarez: Just in the dealings that I saw. She never seemed to avoid him. She never seemed to try and stay away or she didn’t not respond to him in a staff meeting or anything like that. I’m saying that with the other staff she was very standoffish.

(Questioning by Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.).

Simpson: Well, based upon the years that you’ve known . . . and worked with Anita Hill, have any of you ever known her to exaggerate small slights that you might have seen, make a big deal out of something that didn’t warrant it?

Alvarez: Well, the exaggeration that I saw in her probably most often was about her relationship with the chairman. You know, that she was--she knew how he thought.

(Questioning by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)

Specter: Do you think it is conceivable that Prof. Hill might really think this happened when it didn’t?

Holt: I think that’s the only conceivable answer, Senator. I do not believe it happened.

Specter: Her life’s not going to be any easier now.

Alvarez: Well, I think you--I think she’s now become, I think somebody on this committee put it, the Rosa Parks of sexual harassment. You know, speaking engagements will come, the book, the movie.


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