Well…It must be a conservative thing. If old conservative white guys can grope women, why not old conservative black guys. Not sure I understand the motivations behind this one coming out.
A woman is accusing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of having groped her in 1999.
According to a report published Thursday by the National Law Journal/Law.com, Moira Smith, 41, alleged that Thomas repeatedly squeezed her butt during a dinner nearly 20 years ago.
Smith, vice president and general counsel at Enstar Natural Gas Co. in Alaska, was a Truman Foundation scholar helping Louis Blair, who directed the foundation at the time, prepare for a dinner at Blair’s home in Falls Church, Virginia, with Thomas and David Adkins as the featured guests. Thomas was to present Adkins, then a Kansas state lawmaker as well as a former Truman scholar, an award at the Supreme Court the following day.
Smith posted details about the encounter on Facebook the night a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video emerged in which now-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was caught talking cavalierly about forcibly kissing and groping women with impunity because he’s “a star.”
“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” Smith wrote in the post, which was initially private, then made public but no longer exists since she deactivated her account about 10 days later. “I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding. He was charming in many ways—giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable.”
“But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him,’” she continued. “When I feebly explained that I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again…’are you *sure*??’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.”
In a series of interviews conducted over two weeks since her post was published, Smith recalled setting the table to Thomas’ right while the two were alone “when he reached out, sort of cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me pretty close to him.” Thomas asked her where she was sitting “and gave me a squeeze,” she added.
“He said, ‘I think you should sit next to me,’ giving me squeezes. I said, ‘Well, Mr. Blair is pretty particular about his seating chart,’” she told NLJ. “I tried to use the seating chart as a pretext for refusing. He one more time squeezed my butt and he said, ‘Are you sure?’ I said yes, and that was the end of it.”
Thomas, who was accused in testimony during his Senate confirmation hearings by Anita Hill of sexually harassing her when she worked for him at the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, dismissed the allegations in a statement to NLJ through his spokeswoman. “This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” he said.
Thomas’ office didn’t immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.
Smith concluded her Facebook post, which included additional revelations that she was date raped in college, “accosted in a bar and groped by an acquaintance,” by remarking that she was speaking out not because of the presidential election or Trump but because, “Enough is enough.”
“Donald Trump said when you’re a star, they let you do it; you can do anything. The idea that we as victims let them do it made me mad,” she told NLJ, explaining why she went public. “Sure enough, Justice Thomas did it with I think an implicit pact of silence that I would be so flattered and star-struck and surprised that I wouldn’t say anything. I played the chump. I didn’t say anything.”
She suggested she didn’t speak up at the time because while she was “shell-shocked,” she was “also there for work” and “had a job to do.” Smith posed with Thomas for a picture after the dinner but said she was “conflicted” about it.
“On the one hand, I really liked Justice Thomas,” she said. “He was clearly smart, engaging, and hilarious—he had a booming and totally infectious laugh. On the other hand, I was so confused about what had happened. It had transgressed such a line.”
A second story on Thomas today, discussing the Court Nomination process. As one of the Judges whose nomination was one of the most contentious in history…He has something to say.
Actually the best question is at the end of the article where he wonders if the court may have some role in its own undoing as a respected institution. Like all those 5-4 decisions?
That the judicial nomination process has grown so politicized in recent years is evidence that Washington “is broken in some ways,” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Wednesday.
Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Thomas did not directly address the vacancy left on the high court when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February. But when asked about the open seat, he replied, “At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions,” according to a Bloombergreport.
Republicans have steadfastly refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, insisting on waiting until after the presidential election before the seat is filled. Democrats have been largely unsuccessful in their efforts to pressure the GOP into taking up Garland’s nomination.
With Scalia gone and the Republican Senate in no hurry to replace him, the court’s eight justices are split evenly along ideological lines. That 4-4 tie has left the court unable to settle some contentious cases, which revert to the lower court’s ruling when the justices are deadlocked. But in an interview earlier this week, Justice Stephen Breyer said such narrow decisions are relatively rare and added that the court has functioned before with an even number of justices.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) agreed, suggesting this week that his party could indefinitely block the Supreme Court nominations of a Democratic president. The conservative firebrand said “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices.”
Thomas, who was himself confirmed only after a contentious hearing that focused on allegations of sexual harassment against him, said the popular notion that the Supreme Court is an overly politicized institution is at least partially the fault of the court itself.
“I don’t think people owe us, reflexively, confidence. I think it’s something we earn,” he said. “Perhaps we should ask ourselves what have we done to not earn it or earn it.”