Critical Judicial Nominations and Political Change: The Impact of Clarence Thomas

By Christopher E. Smith | Go to book overview

5
Political Mobilization in the Aftermath of the Thomas Nomination Controversy

Many women felt outraged by the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. They were especially appalled by the Republicans' concerted attacks on Anita Hill's credibility as the hapless Democrats sat idly by. Although public opinion polls initially indicated that a majority of Americans, including many women, disbelieved Anita Hill's sexual harassment claims, 1 the hearings touched a special nerve with educated, affluent, and working women, the categories most inclined to become politically active. According to a Los Angeles Times survey, individuals with some postgraduate education were more likely than people with lower educational levels to have believed Anita Hill's charges (50 percent vs. 35 percent). 2 As expressed by one former congressional press secretary in the immediate aftermath of the hearings, "[O]ne of the very difficult things for both Democrats and Republicans coming out of this is that activist women--women who support candidates, who donate money, who donate time--they by and large, in overwhelming numbers, supported Anita Hill." 3 Over time, Hill's credibility attracted support from a wider range of the American public. A Wall Street Journal/ABC News poll found that although people believed Clarence Thomas over Anita Hill (40 percent to 24 percent) in October 1991 when the hearings ended, by September

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Critical Judicial Nominations and Political Change: The Impact of Clarence Thomas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Critical Judicial Nominations 1
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - Critical Judicial Nominations in American History 17
  • Notes 41
  • 3 - Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court 45
  • Notes 68
  • 4 - The Thomas Hearings as the Catalyst for Political Mobilization 73
  • Notes 116
  • 5 - Political Mobilization in the Aftermath of the Thomas Nomination Controversy 123
  • Notes 148
  • 6 - Conclusion 153
  • Notes 156
  • Select Bibliography 159
  • Index 163
  • About the Author 173
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