Pleading Guilty

A writer confesses to libeling Anita Hill--and reopens the Thomas hearings

Washington had never been quite so raw, quite so ugly. The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991--once law-school professor Anita Hill reluctantly came forward to accuse Thomas of sexual harassment--became one of those events we'll still be arguing about over soft food in the nursing home. They were the first hearings for high stakes played with no rules. The proceedings felt to Thomas like "a high-tech lynching," to Anita Hill like character assassination. (Republicans dredged up the infamous John Doggett 3d, a lawyer who testified that Hill was an erotomaniac for thinking he would ever condescend to date her.) To the...

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