In a vivid memoir, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas scathingly condemns the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination...
WASHINGTON — In a vivid memoir, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas scathingly condemns the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination and the “mob” of liberal elites and activist groups he says desecrated his life.
“My Grandfather’s Son,” for which Thomas has received a reported $1.5 million, is a memoir of his life in rural Georgia, his reliance on religious faith and his rise to the Supreme Court.
His book ends with the day he was sworn in and contains only fleeting mentions of his time on the bench.
He lovingly describes the iron-willed grandfather who raised him after his own father abandoned him as a toddler; critically admires the Roman Catholic Church that provided him with an education but was not as “adamant about ending racism then as it is about ending abortion now”; and gives a detailed description of the confirmation hearings that electrified the nation in 1991 and the sexual-harassment allegations by Anita Hill that he said destroyed his reputation.
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They are the most extensive comments Thomas has made about Hill since his confirmation.
Thomas writes that Hill was the tool of liberal activist groups “obsessed” with abortion and outraged because he did not fit their idea of what an African American should believe.
“The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns,” Thomas writes of his hearings. “Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America’s newspapers. … But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose — to keep the black man in his place — was unchanged.”
He writes that Hill did a “mediocre” job at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where he was chairman, and misrepresented herself at the time of the hearings as a “devoutly religious Reagan-administration employee.”
“In fact, she was a left-winger who’d never expressed any religious sentiments” and had a job in the administration “because I’d given it to her.”
Thomas, 59, says in the foreword to the book, due to go on sale Monday, that he wrote it to “leave behind an accurate record of my own life as I remember it” rather than leave it to those “with careless hands or malicious hearts.”
He indicates he wrote it himself, with editing help from three others.
Throughout the book, Thomas describes himself as under siege, either from preening elites, light-skinned African Americans or critics who object to his conservative politics.
He credits his mentor, former Missouri Republican Sen. John Danforth, and his second wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, for getting him through the hearings, and said his faith was a critical resource.
But by the time he was confirmed, he said, the prize meant little. Instead of watching the Senate roll call, he took a bath. His wife came to tell him he had been confirmed 52-48.
“Whoop-dee-damn-doo,” Thomas writes.