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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Clarence Thomas’ Wife to Anita Hill: Say You’re Sorry

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Memo to Virginia Thomas: Let sleeping dogs lie.

Last week, Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left a voice mail message for Hill, according to The New York Times. Virginia Thomas apparently wants an apology from Hill for her testimony about her husband during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings nearly 20 years ago.

In case history has become blurry over time, Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment when she worked as an aide for him at the Department of Education and later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The controversy erupted late in his confirmation hearings as Americans became captivated by Hill’s shocking details. (One account famously involved a soda can and pubic hair.) Thomas denied the accusations and was ultimately confirmed 52-48 by the U.S. Senate.

Hill, now a professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., confirmed to the media that she had received a call from Virginia — better known as Ginni (also spelled Ginny) — Thomas.

The Times reported that the voice mail said, Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Virginia Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”

Virginia Thomas confirmed to the Times that she had placed a call to Hill, describing it as “extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago.”

She added, “That offer still stands. I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

The voice mail triggered Hill to turn the matter over to the campus Department of Public Safety Monday, which turned it over to the FBI.

Hill told The Times in an interview: “I thought it was certainly inappropriate. It came in at 7:30 a.m. on my office phone from somebody I didn’t know, and she is asking for an apology. It was not invited. There was no background for it.”

Virginia Thomas has become increasingly more active in Washington’s conservative and libertarian political circles. Last year, she founded Liberty Central, with a goal of preserving liberty and citizens’ voices. It frequently targets Obama’s “tyranny” and strives to affect the 2010 and 2012 elections.

The site states, “Ginni recognized the need for our country to bridge the gap between our nation’s citizens and its Capitol and return to a government that adheres to our core Founding Principles — limited government, personal responsibility, individual liberty, free enterprise, and national security.”

Virginia Thomas is described on the site as its president and CEO who is a “new social entrepreneur.” Her bio touts her work in the past with “esteemed politicians like Dick Armey and for institutions like Hillsdale College, the Heritage Foundation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” It also states that she is a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham. “She is intrigued by Glenn Beck and listening carefully,” it says. “She also enjoys motor homing and watching ’24.'”

There is no mention of her husband.

The organization’s Facebook page has nearly 7,000 fans.

Last week, Limbaugh defended the organization on his radio show against a New York Times editorial that questioned donations to the Liberty Central. In part, the editorial said: “Its first contributions of $500,000 and $50,000 came from undisclosed donors. The size of those gifts, their anonymity and their importance to the organization raise a serious issue of ethics for Justice Thomas.”

Hill teaches a course at Brandeis University called “Social Justice and the Obama Administration.” In 2009, Vanity Fair writer Nell Scovell wrote that Obama should appoint Hill to the Supreme Court.

That would have been cozy. In his 2007 autobiography, Clarence Thomas called Hill “my most traitorous adversary.”

In an op-ed that same year in The New York Times, Hill fired back against Thomas, saying she would not allow him or his anger to reinvent her. He described her in his book as a “combative left-winger” who was “touchy” and prone to overreacting to “slights.”

Hill wrote then that she stood by her testimony. This week, she told ABC News the same thing and that she has nothing to apologize for.
Maybe it’s time for the Thomases to let go of Anita Hill.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm

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