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Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nominatio...

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539911_1_1
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Washington D.C.
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1991  (Actual Year)
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21:32:48 - 21:40:07
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11957
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Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court Friday October 11, 1991 evening session. Clarence Thomas appears before Commitee after the have questioned Anita Hill about her charges of sexual harassment

Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nominatio...

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539911_1_2
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Washington D.C.
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1991  (Actual Year)
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21:32:48 - 21:34:05
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Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). talking about your private parts, bragging about sexual prowess, talking about particular pornographic movies. Let me ask you something. You have dealt with these problems for a long time. At one time I was the Chairman of reviewing the EEOC and, I might add, the Department of Education, and I am the ranking member today, and I have known you for 11 years and you are an expert. Because you are the person who made the arguments to then Solicitor General Fried that the Administration should strongly take a position on sexual harassment cases in the Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson case, and the Supreme Court adopted your position. Did I misstate that? Judge Clarence Thomas. Senator, what you have said is substantially accurate. What I attempted to do in my discussions with the Solicitor is to have them be aggressive in that litigation, and EEOC was very instrumental in the success in the Meritor case.

Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nominatio...

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1991  (Actual Year)
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21:34:05 - 21:35:26
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Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). Now, Judge, keep in mind that the statute of limitations under Title VII for sexual harassment for private employers is 180 days or 6 months. But the statute of limitations under Title VII for Federal employers and employees is 30 days. Are you aware of that? Judge Clarence Thomas. Yes, Senator, I am generally aware of those limitations. Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). And are you aware of why those statutes of limitation are so short? Judge Clarence Thomas. I would suspect that at some point it would have to do with the decision by this body that either memories begin to fade or stories change, perhaps individuals move around, and that it would be more difficult to litigate them. I don't know precisely what all of the rationale is. Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). Well, it involves the basic issue of fairness, just exactly how you have described it. If somebody is going to be accused in a unilateral declaration of sexual harassment, then that somebody ought to be accused through either a complaint or some sort of a criticism, so that that somebody can be informed and then respond to those charges, and, if necessary, change that somebody's conduct. Is that a fair statement? Judge Clarence Thomas. I think that is a fair statement.

Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nominatio...

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1991  (Actual Year)
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21:35:26 - 21:38:04
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Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). Now let me ask you something: I described all kinds of what I consider to be gross, awful sexually harassing things, which if you take them cumulatively have to gag anybody. Now you have seen a lot of these sexual harassment cases as you have served there at the EEOC. What is your opinion with regard to what should have been done with those charges, and whether or not you believe that, let's take Professor Hill in this case, should have done something, since she was a Yale Law graduate who taught civil rights law at one point, served in these various agencies, and had to understand that there is an issue of fairness here. Judge Clarence Thomas. Senator, if any of those activities occur, it would seem to me to clearly suggest or to clearly indicate sexual harassment, and anyone who felt that she was harassed could go to an EEO officer at any agency and have that dealt with confidentially. At the Department of Education, if she said it occurred there, or at EEOC, those are separate tracks. At EEOC, I do not get to review those, if they involve me, and at Department of Education there is a separate EEO officer for the whole department. It would have nothing to do with me. But if I were an individual advising a person who had been subjected to that treatment, I would advise her to immediately go to the EEO officer. Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). An EEO office then would bring the parties together, or at least would confront the problem head-on, wouldn't it? Judge Clarence Thomas. The EEO officer would provide counseling - Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). Within a short period of time? Judge Clarence Thomas. - within a short period of time, as well as, I think, if necessary, an actual charge would be - Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). So the charge would be made, and the charge would then--the person against whom it was made would have a chance to answer it right then, right up front, in a way that could resolve it and stop this type of activity if it ever really occurred? Judge Clarence Thomas. That is right. Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). And you have just said it never really occurred. Judge Clarence Thomas. It never occurred. That is why there was no charge.

Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committe on the Nominatio...

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1991  (Actual Year)
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21:38:04 - 21:40:07
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11957
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Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). You see, one of the problems that has bothered me from the front of this thing is, these are gross. Cumulated, I don't know why anybody would put up with them, or why anybody would respect or work with another person who would do that. And if you did that, I don't know why anybody would work with you who suffered these treatments. Judge Clarence Thomas. I agree. Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). Furthermore, I don't know why they would have gone to a different position with you, even if they did think that maybe it had stopped and it won't start again, but then claimed that it started again. And then when they finally got out into the private sector, wouldn't somehow or other confront these problems in three successive confirmation proceedings. Does that bother you? Judge Clarence Thomas. This whole affair bothers me, Senator. I am witnessing the destruction of my integrity. 39.05 Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah). And it is by a unilateral set of declarations that are made on successive dates, and differ, by one person who continued to maintain what she considered to be a "cordial professional relationship" with you over a 10-year period. Judge Clarence Thomas. Senator, my relationship with Anita Hill prior to September 25th was cordial and professional, and I might add one other thing. If you really want an idea of how I treated women, then ask the majority of the women who worked for me. They are out here. Give them as much time as you have given one person, the only person who has been on my staff who has ever made these sorts of allegations about me.