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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is speaking out about his contentious 1991 Senate confirmation hearings, hammering the then-Joe Biden-led Judiciary Committee for its unfair treatment of him and calling out left-wing attempts to impede his career.
In segments from a forthcoming documentary called “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words” — which was made available to ABC News — Thomas argues he became the target of politically motivated accusations because of his conservative viewpoints, especially on abortion.
“I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it’s gonna be the Klansmen; it’s gonna be the rural sheriff,'” Thomas says in the film.
“But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern day liberal,” he said about his confirmation hearings. “They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you.”
In 1991, near the end of Thomas’ confirmation hearings, sexual harassment allegations against Thomas were leaked to the media. The accuser, Anita Hill, who worked for Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, testified publicly before Congress, and the hearings soon became a media frenzy.
Thomas’ confirmation hearings were reminiscent of the recent frenzied confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Like Kavanaugh after him, Thomas has categorically denied the allegations and characterized them as a political stunt to block his nomination.
“Do I have like stupid written on the back of my shirt? I mean come on. We know what this is all about,” Thomas says in the film, according to ABC News. “People should just tell the truth: ‘This is the wrong black guy; he has to be destroyed.’ Just say it. Then now we’re at least honest with each other.
“The idea was to get rid of me,” he continues. “And then after I was there, it was to undermine me.”
Thomas was ultimately confirmed by the Senate in a 52-48 vote.
In the film, Thomas recalls Biden’s line of questioning regarding natural law during the hearings, and argues that his tactics were clear — he was trying to bait Thomas into espousing his conservative views on abortion in order to undermine his candidacy.
“I understood what he was trying to do. I didn’t really appreciate it. Natural law was nothing more than a way of tricking me into talking about abortion,” Thomas says.
The documentary, which was produced by Michael Pack and Manifold productions, will air on PBS in May 2020.
Manifold Productions has marketed the film as a chance “tell the Clarence Thomas story truly and fully, without cover-ups or distortions.”