Anita Hill condemns the Kavanaugh hearings: 'It does a disservice to the American people'

  • Anita Hill criticised the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings being Thursday to address Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh.
  • She said the process would be better served if the accusations were investigated neutrally, and experts on sexual assault advised the senators.
  • Hill said the current setup “does a disservice” to Ford, the courts, and to Americans who need leadership in dealing with sexual assault accusations.
  • Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 confirmation, only to see him confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Anita Hill – who herself accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault in 1991, only to see him confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court – criticised the confirmation hearings the Senate is holding for Brett Kavanaugh, saying on Wednesday that the process “does a disservice” to Americans dealing with sexual assault.

Hill, now a professor of law and women’s studies at Brandeis University, said Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were teenagers should be investigated by a neutral party, and that the Senate should take input from experts on sexual assault.

Instead, Ford and Kavanaugh will each give independent testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary committee Thursday. Hill made the remarks at a pre-scheduled speech at the University of Utah Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

“Setting them up this way does a disservice not only to the primary witness, but it does a disservice to the courts, and it does a disservice to the American people who want to know how to respond to these situations and they want representation that helps them understand,” Hill said.

In 1991, Hill testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, accusing Thomas of sexual harassment when she worked with him at the at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the early 1980s. Thomas denied the accusations and was confirmed by the Senate with a 52 to 48 vote four days later.

Hill said that with Kavanaugh, as with Thomas, the integrity of the Supreme Court was at stake.

“Access to equal justice for all is what was at stake in 1991, and it’s what’s at stake now,” she said.

Hill said that the #MeToo movement has the potential to change the way Americans deal with sexual misconduct, but that it would require changing the way people stereotypically view abusers.

“We look for simple solutions because we don’t want to deal with the hard questions,” she said. “When those simple solutions fail, too often we retreat.”

VisitINSIDER’s homepage for more.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.