When they warned us about Clarence Thomas…

Aundra Willis Carrasco
6 min readMar 17, 2024
Mrs. Rosa Parks and Professor Anita Hill

As numerous shocking controversies involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his weirdly eccentric and pro-insurrectionist wife, Ginni continue to be revealed, several of my readers have suggested that I repost my blog post, Anita Hill is owed an apology and the line forms to the Right, which was originally published on HUFF POST and MEDIUM in 2017. At that time, and to my great surprise, Anita Hill read the post and emailed me a lovely thank you message. While I was reading over my blog post and deciding whether or not to repost it, and above all, whether the subject still had relevance, my decision was a resounding ‘Yes!’ Because, as Professor Hill tried to warn us in her testimony, character does matter. And she wasn’t alone in revealing Thomas’ sexual advances toward her in their workplace, but when several other women offered to testify and corroborate her accusations, they were denied the opportunity by the 14-member all-male Senate Judiciary Committee. However, other voices also spoke out and were similarly ignored. Here’s a brief look back at how we arrived at where we are today.

It’s hard to believe now, but the Clarence Thomas horror began nearly thirty-three years ago, on June 27, 1991, when 82-year-old Justice Thurgood Marshall announced his plans to retire. Four days later, President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, a federal judge, and Bush appointee for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The nomination triggered vehement objections from the Black community as well as civil rights leaders and organizations e.g., The NAACP and the Urban League, which feared that Thomas’ presence on the high court would tilt the balance of the court sharply to the right. Another serious concern was Thomas’ dismissive views and statements against affirmative action, which led to the following being said about him:

“He climbed the ladder and then put it away.”

Reacting to the announcement of Judge Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the United States Supreme Court, Mrs. Rosa Parks, an indisputable civil rights icon, expressed her disagreement with the choice of Thomas in a cautiously diplomatic but stern statement. And although it has rarely been discussed in recent years, Mrs. Parks’ keen observations at the time were perceptive and unquestionably prescient:

“Without a doubt, Judge Thomas has achieved remarkable success in his career, raising himself up from humble beginnings to the nomination for the highest court in the land. That is to his great credit, and I applaud him for it.

Yet I have to believe that his confirmation to the highest court in the land would not represent a step forward in the road to racial progress but a U-turn on that road. The record and rhetoric of the man leaves me little confidence that his confirmation would in any way help address the profound racial problems and divisions that drag our country down. His statements on the Brown v. Board of Education case, on affirmative action, and even on Roe v. Wade, to me, indicate that he wants to push the clock back.

African Americans I believe want to have confidence in the promise of the courts, we want to believe that they are a place we can turn to for the redress of the racial discrimination and many deprivations that are still clearly rampant in our country. The Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case instilled in us that hope nearly forty years ago as did many others that subsequently followed.” — Rosa Parks, September 13, 1991

October 11, 1991:

Law professor, Anita Hill came forward and revealed that Thomas had sexually harassed her in their workplace. Although reluctantly at first, she had finally come forward, guided by her own personal integrity and civic duty. Because Clarence Thomas’ offensive sexual advances toward her and his priapic proclivities were a clear indication that he was undeserving of the nomination. She testified for four-and-a-half hours before the clueless male-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee. Her testimony was riveting and believable. And for a brief moment, it appeared that Thomas’ confirmation was in jeopardy. With incredible poise and an unimaginable inner strength under frequently volatile circumstances, she responded to numerous offensive questions from male senators whose clear motives were to discredit and embarrass her. But she held her head high and persevered through the brutal spectacle. Nevertheless, even after several other women volunteered to testify that Thomas had also sexually harassed them, they were not allowed to be heard during the hearings. Clearly, with Clarence Thomas in the guise of the poor Black victim, the senators felt obligated to release him from a “high-tech lynching”. And his flimsy objections to the accusation were music to the senators’ ears. He was their boy. And he would subsequently be beholden to them during his lifetime tenure on the high court. Finally, in a 52–48 vote, the Senate confirmed Thomas. And the result of their misogynistic and partisan confirmation hearings resulted in his 32 years on the high court, during which his yearning for retaliation has been reflected time and again in the predictable votes he has cast, as well as his refusal to recuse himself from pertinent cases and the corruption he continues to benefit from. It is without question that Clarence Thomas’ presence on the United States Supreme Court remains a blemish on the reputation and historic legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

As award-winning journalist Trevor W. Coleman wrote:

“…I interviewed Mrs. Parks for a 1996 cover story on Thomas I wrote for Emerge Magazine. She was appalled by his appointment to the seat held by Thurgood Marshall. Said he represented everything Marshall fought against. Also said he was a “terrible” role model for children.”

“Thirty years ago, I warned America about Thomas’s corruption in two cover stories I wrote for the Black publication “Emerge” magazine. Bush selected him precisely because of his self-loathing, anti-Black racism, and obeisance to the most far-right fringes of U.S. politics.”

1996 Emerge Magazine covers containing Coleman’s articles about Justice Thomas.

Re: Adarand Constructors v. Pena (93–1841), 515 U.S. 200 (1995).

On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit [June 12, 1995]

Justice Thomas, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

“I agree with the majority’s conclusion that strict scrutiny applies to all government classifications based on race. I write separately, however, to express my disagreement with the premise underlying Justice Stevens’ and Justice Ginsburg’s dissents: that there is a racial paternalism exception to the principle of equal protection. I believe that there is a “moral [and] constitutional equivalence,” post, at 3, (Stevens, J., dissenting), between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality…

…Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law.” — Justice Clarence Thomas

For anyone who happens to be wondering what a $5,135 bottle of wine looks like.
Demonstrators in front of U.S. Supreme Court speaking out.
“Equal Justice Under Law” crumbling under corruption.

2017 Blog Post: Anita Hill is owed an apology and the line forms to the Right

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