Clarence Thomas: A Biography

By Andrew Peyton Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
The Empty Noose

Of course Brer Fox wanted to hurt Brer Rabbit as bad as he could, so he caught him by the hind legs and slung him right in the middle of the brier patch. There was a considerable flutter where Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox sort of hung around to see what was going to happen.

Like a willful youngster plugging his ears, Thomas had refused to watch or listen to Hill's testimony. After he left the Caucus Room and returned to Danforth's office, he told Allen Moore, "I'm not watching it. I don't need to see those lies. I know what she is going to say. I just want to go home." So he did. Upon arriving at his house, Thomas procured a cigar, turned on his stereo, and idled away the day conversing with the deputy marshal assigned to protect him.

Later, Thomas said he did not listen to Hill's testimony because he "couldn't take it." His years in Washington had not toughened his skin much, if at all; even if they had, the mortification was overwhelming. But he did keep tabs on Hill's testimony by calling Larry Silberman at his chambers every thirty to forty-five minutes and soliciting a report. He also asked Ginni for regular updates. This was odd but predictable behavior for an extraordinarily proud and sensitive man.

At 5 PM., Thomas returned to Capitol Hill. Peering into Danforth's office, he saw on the television that Hill still was testifying. "I'm not watching it," he declared. At that point, Danforth turned off the TV and cleared the room. Thomas and Luttig remained alone. Fortunately for Thomas, the resourceful Luttig had made notes of Hill's testimony. He reviewed her allegations with Thomas. As Luttig went over the charges, Thomas would periodically interrupt with new cries of "Why would she be doing this?" and other anguished comments about the humiliation he was suffering. Luttig once again counseled the nominee against attacking the committee.

-425-

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