- Anita Hill spoke about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings during a talk at the University of Pennsylvania Wednesday night.
- Hill has spoken a lot about the case recently, since it closely resembles what she went through when she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991.
- Hill said it’s “a tragedy” that not much has changed in the nearly three decades since the Thomas confirmation hearings.
Anita Hill weighed in on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process Wednesday night, during a talk at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hill has of late been asked to give her opinion on Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation, since it closely resembled what she went through when she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991.
Kavanaugh had been hit with sexual assault allegations; Christine Blasey Ford claimed before the committee that Kavanaugh had tried to rape her at a party when they were both in high school.
In both Kavanaugh and Thomas’ confirmation hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee allowed the accuser to speak, but confirmed the nominee anyway.
Seeing history repeat itself was a disappointment for Hill.
“It’s really a tragedy,” she said, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Their framing of the process and their framing of the questions were not informed by facts and knowledge, and therefore they excluded a whole body of information that has been developed in the past three decades.”
“What happened was not only a disservice to the people who were the principal witnesses, but was a disservice to the American public,” she added, according to The Guardian. “We were all disserved in 1991 – people wanted to understand sexual harassment. In 2018, they wanted to understand sexual assault.”
Hill received a standing ovation when she entered the packed auditorium of 1,200 for the talk Wednesday night.
While her views on the confirmation were mostly negative, she did say there have been some positive changes since her testimony in 1991, including the fact that the senators didn’t condemn Ford in public.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in a vote on Saturday, 50-48, making his confirmation the most contentious in the history of the court.
In the lead-up to the Saturday vote, Hill had said she was impressed with Ford’s testimony, and thought that Kavanaugh’s blusterous rebuttal to the accusations showed a double standard for Supreme Court justices. She was also among the voices who called for an FBI investigation into the allegations, which was eventually forced with Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s support. Flake later voted to confirm Kavanaugh, however.
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