The Relentless Attacks Against Justice Thomas

Editor’s Comment: I was watching a new HBO made movie that HBO lists as Docudrama, Drama. I list it as straight out of the Goebbels handbook for a propaganda movie just in time for the hearings that may or may not happen in selecting the next Supreme Court Justice. HBO is , in my opinion, the propaganda wing of the “cable” TV movie makers.

I felt I had to re-publish an article I published back in 1994 about Clarence Thomas.

By Armstrong Williams

In George Orwell’s 1984, the protagonist is seen at his job rewriting history. Everyday, Winston Smith goes into the office, pulls out old news stories, rewrites them according to the current party line, and then destroys the previous version. Apparently, that is the process that will continue to surround the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

This year’s round consists of a one-two punch of revisionist history on that subject. One has to admire his opponents’ dogged determination to salvage an ex post facto victory from one of their most bitter political defeats. It shows that in America, the victors do not always write the history. This perpetual ritual does make one thing clear. Those grapes are becoming more sour by the year.

The first swing in this year’s assault on Justice Thomas’s legitimacy is a puff piece in the “Style” section of The Washington Post on the supposed “other woman” of the nomination hearings. Three Sundays ago, the Post ran an extremely lengthy feature article on Angela Wright. Ms. Wright, who never testified under oath against Justice Thomas, concedes in the article that she was never sexually harassed by him. But the story is devoted to ruing the loss of testimony the author feels would have tipped the scales from “He said, she said,” to “He said, they said,” toppling Justice Thomas in the process. Of course the author conveniently ignores the witnesses vouching for the justice’s conduct and character.

A great deal of the article is dedicated to the laborious process of polishing up the numerous blemishes on the credibility of this now notorious non-witness. These would include firings from various jobs and her vindictive behavior toward her supervisors in each case. Her final dismissal came at the EEOC, where she worked under then Chairman Clarence Thomas at the same time I was there. The final straw in her release there was a commission meeting that she was to set up, which turned out to be a total disaster, embarrassing the chairman and the commissioners. That incident was the final straw in a long string of incidents of unprofessional conduct, including constant profane language, and her being so verbally abusive to one male participant at a seminar she had set up, that he punched her. She related this story to me, and I personally saw the bruise where she was hit. When the chairman learned of this incident, he was outraged, but kept her on.

When interviewed for the article by author Florence Graves, I mentioned that Wright had used the disparaging term “faggot” to describe a co-worker, and also that she had used the term to his face. When the former co-worker in question was contacted, he denied that Wright ever used that term directly to him.

I have to confess that I did not personally hear her use the term directly to that man. I thought Angela Wright had done so because she herself told me she had done it. I do know for a fact, however, that she used profane terms regularly, and used that term in reference to this colleague in a conversation with others and me at the Commission at the time.

The “Style” piece portrays a level-headed Angela Wright saddened but not embittered by her experiences, who admitted her mistakes and has learned from them. It is a portrait drawn through finesse and omission. For instance, the author failed to mention an FBI interview with Thelma Duggin, a mutual friend of Ms. Wright and Justice Thomas. Ms. Duggin told the FBI about a conversation she had with Ms. Wright in August 1991-two months before Anita Hill came forward. Ms. Wright told Ms. Duggin that she was “looking for a way to get back at Thomas.” (I visited Angela Wright in Winston-Salem in 1989, and she made a similar comment to me.) Ms. Duggin told the FBI that Ms. Wright was seeking revenge because Clarence Thomas had fired her.

The author also failed even to contact Phyllis Berry Meyers. This is odd, because Ms. Meyers was a longtime associate of Angela Wright’s, and also a very close friend at the time Angela came aboard the EEOC. Angela Wright was first fired from the staff of Democratic Rep. Charlie Rose, a position in which she succeeded Phyllis. Ms. Meyers then helped her obtain a position at the RNC. And Ms. Meyers preceded Angela Wright to the staff of the EEOC. Ms. Wright was hired at the EEOC under the pressure of a White House staff member and over the objection of Phyllis Meyers. Though they were friends, Phyllis felt “her temperament did not suit heading the office of public affairs at an agency undergoing fundamental change, which was under intense scrutiny, and with a chairman under fire. I lost the argument to the pleas of the White House staff member.”

Angela Wright’s stay at the EEOC proved Phyllis Meyers’ misgivings correct. Ms. Wright’s tenure at EEOC ended in hard feelings, charges and countercharges. That was Angela’s pattern.

The Post article tries to depict Thomas supporters as fearful of her testimony. That is far from the truth. Witnesses for Clarence Thomas relished the thought of Ms. Wright testifying. On the day she was fired from the EEOC, Angela called Phyllis and said, “You will pay for this, Phyllis. You tell Clarence Thomas he better watch his back.” Such inconvenient facts didn’t make the revised history’s cut.

Ms. Wright’s resurrection by the Post may have been an effort to establish Wright as a credible witness in time for a second blow at Justice Thomas – a forthcoming book entitled, Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson. Though the book has not yet been published (and the publisher has withheld review copies) it is already noteworthy as the recipient of a nomination for a National Book Award. It is unprecedented for a book that has not yet been published or seen by reviewers to be nominated for a National Book Award. David Brock’s The Real Anita Hill, which was a New York Times best seller for three months, was not even considered by the panel. Clearly, the motivation for the nomination is to bring advance publicity to this year’s vehicle for retrashing Justice Thomas’ nomination.

The dispute is not really about Anita Hill or Angela Wright or the truth about sexual harassment. It is part of a continuing war against Justice Thomas and his conservative judicial philosophy. As in Macbeth, what is done is not done – at least until it is done the way the media wants it done. The presence of a conservative black Supreme Court Justice explodes many of the liberals’ most precious sacred cows. His life and example, much less his judicial philosophy, are a constant thorn in their side, and apparently they will stop at nothing to have that thorn removed. §

Reprinted with permission from Destiny Magazine.