Anita Hill’s Testimony and Other Key Moments From the Clarence Thomas Hearings


Later that day, Senator Alan K. Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, read aloud a statement from an unidentified federal prosecutor, suggesting that Ms. Hill could be delusional.

“I understand, based on information from reliable scientific sources,” Mr. Simpson said, “that if a person suffers from a delusional disorder he or she may pass a polygraph test. Therefore, a polygraph examination in this context has absolutely no bearing on whether the events at issue are true or untrue.”

He failed to mention that the federal prosecutor, a United States attorney, was a member of Judge Thomas’s defense team, according to “Strange Justice,” a 1994 book on the hearings written by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson.

Earlier in the hearings, senators had cited an affidavit from John N. Doggett III, an acquaintance of Ms. Hill and law school friend of Judge Thomas, that also charged that Ms. Hill was “somewhat unstable.” Mr. Doggett said he believed she had romantic fantasies about him, a claim that Ms. Hill denied. Mr. Doggett’s testimony on Sunday was bizarre and, at times, irrelevant. At one point he talked about a random woman he met at a restaurant the previous night who told him to “put your penis back in your pants.”

Angela Wright, a former public affairs officer who worked with Judge Thomas at the E.E.O.C., was prepared to speak before the committee about her own accusations against him of sexual improprieties. Ms. Wright, who was then 37, told Senate aides that Judge Thomas had continually pressured her to date him and made sexual comments about women’s bodies.

Ms. Wright, then an assistant editor at a North Carolina newspaper, traveled to Washington for the hearings. Her legal team had secured a corroborating witness who was also prepared to speak.

But in Saturday’s televised session, Mr. Simpson, the Republican senator, told viewers that Ms. Wright seemed to have “cold feet” about testifying. Judge Thomas also told the committee he had dismissed her from the E.E.O.C. for calling a staff member a homophobic slur. According to the book “Strange Justice,” Ms. Wright denied saying either, and the staff member does not recall Ms. Wright using the slur.


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