- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Breaking his 16-year public silence on his bitter confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says Anita Hill was a mediocre employee who was used by political opponents to make claims she had been sexually harassed.

Justice Thomas writes about Miss Hill, his former employee in two government agencies, and the accusations that nearly derailed his 1991 nomination to the high court in his autobiography, “My Grandfather’s Son.”

A copy of the book, which goes on sale Monday, was obtained yesterday by the Associated Press.

He writes with indignation of the nationally televised hearings that he memorably called a “high-tech lynching.” A child of the segregated South, Justice Thomas says he was being pursued “not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony.”

Powerful interest groups were out to stop him at all costs and chose “the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct,” he writes.

Miss Hill, who also is black, had worked for Justice Thomas at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She first made her accusations after Justice Thomas had been nominated to the high court, 10 years after she began working for him and only after she was contacted by congressional investigators.

In the book, Justice Thomas describes Miss Hill as touchy and apt to overreact, not someone who would wait a decade to level a charge of harassment. She had complained to Justice Thomas only about his refusal to promote her, he says.

“Her work at EEOC had been mediocre,” Justice Thomas writes.

In 1991, he adamantly denied Miss Hill’s accusations that he made inappropriate sexual remarks, including references to pornographic movies. Justice Thomas says he did talk about X-rated movies while at Yale Law School, adding that many other young people in the 1970s did as well.

Justice Thomas, 59, acknowledges that three other former EEOC employees backed Miss Hill’s version of events, but he says they either had been fired or had left the agency on bad terms.

Miss Hill, a Brandeis University professor, declined last night to comment on the book.

The 289-page book, for which Justice Thomas has been paid more than $1 million by publisher HarperCollins, is an account of his up-from-poverty story from his first home in tiny Pinpoint, Ga., through his swearing-in as a justice at the age of 43.

Justice Thomas does not discuss his colleagues or his work on the court in the book.

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