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Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill recalls Supreme Court scandal as ‘surreal’

University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill receives councel from Charles Ogeltree while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Friday, Oct. 11, 1991. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)

Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill recalls Supreme Court scandal as ‘surreal’

Cami Mondeaux

December 03, 04:08 PM December 03, 04:08 PM

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Anita Hill recalled her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment as “surreal,” pointing to the lack of precedence at the time as a daunting experience.

During an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace on Friday, the host played back clips of Hill’s testimony in 1991 in which she described instances of Thomas sexually harassing her while he was supervising her at the Department of Education years before his Supreme Court nomination.

Thomas allegedly asked Hill out several times during her two-year tenure as his assistant, and he would use work situations to make inappropriate comments or to make sexual advances, she testified.

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Hill also said that “he spoke about such … such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes.”

Hill described the experience as “absolutely surreal,” noting there weren’t lawyers who had experience defending a similar case as her allegations were largely unprecedented.

“It was all new,” Hill told Wallace. “But inside of me was the reality … that this is an important moment that we’re in where the court is deciding to put someone who — by the way, at both the [Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], Thomas was charged with enforcing anti-harassment rules.

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“So, here’s a man who had behaved or engaged in behavior that I believe, and others have said, violated the rules that were in place that he was supposed to be enforcing.”

Thomas denied the allegations, denouncing the accusations as being politically motivated. He was later confirmed by the Senate and took office in October 1991.

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