By Dave Andrusko
You can’t—I mean you CAN’T—make this stuff up.
Twenty-four years after the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas—who aptly described the coordinated assault on his nomination and his character as a “high-tech lynching”–we learn that HBO has cast most of the major roles in a new film titled “Confirmation.”
Kerry Washington will play the role of Anita Hill, whose last-minute, out-of-the-blue allegations almost torpedoed Justice Thomas’s nomination, while Wendell Pierce will portray Justice Thomas.
Let’s guess. Fair and balanced or a hit-and-run assault on Justice Thomas who was ultimately confirmed by the Senate October 15, 1991, on a vote of 52-48? Probably an accident, but the director is Rick Famuyiwa, director of Dope.
For those too young to remember, Justice Thomas (then a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) had been nominated by President George H.W. Bush to replace Thurgood Marshall, an ultra-liberal, ultra-pro-abortion justice, on the Supreme Court. Marshall had been on the High Court for 24 years.
Pro-abortionists vowed, in the words of NOW member Flo Kennedy, “to bork him” (a reference to the assault on Judge Robert Bork, whose nomination to the High Court was defeated). “We need to kill him politically.”
That both men were African-Americans just made pro-abortionists all the angrier. Then as now, diversity of thought was honored more in the breach than in the observance by those who profess to believe that we are better off when there is a variety of opinion.
It seemed as if Thomas, who was more than qualified, was going to be confirmed, made worse (to his opponents) by the fact that the Senate was in the hands of pro-abortion Democrats. Groups such as NOW and the National Education Association geared up to defeat Thomas, assisted by the decision of then-Judiciary Committee chair Senator [now Vice President] Joe Biden to hold off hearings until the fall, allowing time to mount an all-out campaign against the nomination. The issue, of course, was “reproductive rights.”
Thomas squeaked through the Judiciary Committee on a tie vote, and it looked like his confirmation was assured, perhaps with as many as 60 to 67 votes. The full Senate vote was scheduled for October 8. Just days before, Hill’s scurrilous allegations were leaked to the press.
Although the anything-goes blitzkrieg against Thomas took place 24 years ago, I remember the viciousness of those hearings like it was yesterday.
Thomas, who is black, was smeared in an unmistakably racist manner by those who clothed their mudslinging assaults in dismissive questions about his intelligence, independence, and integrity. But President Bush (the elder) resolutely stood behind his nominee and Thomas fought back bravely against an army of opponents who made it clear early on there were no depths to which they would not sink. He was narrowly confirmed, amidst waves of ugliness.
He has served on the High Court with distinction ever since.