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Selling the "Founding Principles" like a Used Car

By       Message John Grant       (Page 1 of 6 pages)     Permalink

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The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights we hold as fundamental today.

- Thurgood Marshall on the bi-centennial of the Constitution, 1987

On Saturday, October 9th at 7:31 in the morning, Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, picked up her phone and dialed Anita Hill's Brandeis University office phone and left a taped message asking Professor Hill to pray and, then, apologize and explain "why you did what you did with my husband."

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Mrs. Thomas later described her call as an "olive branch." Hill saw it differently and called the campus police and the FBI.

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The phone call led to a front-page story in The New York Times and stories in other papers and on the web. It raised many questions as to why Mrs. Thomas did what she did. It also resurrected the sordid controversy of her husband's appointment to the US Supreme Court.

Virginia and Clarence Thomas
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Anita Hill has suggested that Mrs. Thomas felt Hill was secretly in love with her husband and, thus, that she had fabricated her testimony about sexual harassment, pornographic movie references and pubic-hairs-in-Coke-can jokes all out of pique and jealousy. Hill's response to this notion is basically: you gotta be kidding.

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The phone call story brings back images like the high stacks of Playboy and Penthouse magazines one witness said were piled up in Mr. Thomas' bachelor apartment.

As to the plausibility of Anita Hill's testimony, the phone call story brought out Lillian McEwen, a retired administrative law judge who had dated Clarence Thomas in the 1980s. She told The Washington Post this:

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I'm a 68-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old kid. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and (more...)

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