Clarence Thomas: A Biography

By Andrew Peyton Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Into the Quagmire

Then one day, Brer Fox went to work and got him some tar. He took the tar and he mixed it with some turpentine, and he fixed up a contraption that he called a Tar-baby.

On the day Thomas accepted the nomination at Kennebunkport, Susan Hoerchner, a workers' compensation judge in Norwalk, California, returned home from work and turned on the television. She learned of his nomination from the TV news. Hoerchner's thoughts quickly turned to her friend from Yale Law School, Anita Hill. She remembered a conversation with Hill from around the time Hill began working for Thomas at the Department of Education, in which Hill complained that Thomas had pressured her to date him. She distinctly recalled Hill using the term "sexual harassment" in describing her boss's behavior. Hoerchner decided to try to locate her old friend in Oklahoma.

With the help of directory assistance, Hoerchner reached Hill at her home in Norman. She asked if Hill had heard of Thomas's nomination, and expressed her own outrage, pointedly referring to Thomas as a "pig." She tried to determine if Hill intended to come forward and tell her story. Hill was evasive.

Hoerchner next asked if Hill would object to her relating the story to others. To this, Hill assented.

Three weeks later, Hill called another friend from Yale, Gary Liman Phillips, who was practicing law with the Federal Communications Commission back in Washington. In the course of a casual conversation, Phillips asked Hill what she thought of her former boss's nomination to the high court. Hill replied that she had left EEOC and Washington because Thomas had sexually harassed her.

-365-

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