Vote on Thomas Delayed a Week To Weigh Harassment Charge

October 16, 1991 1 min read

WASHINGTON--The Senate Judiciary Committee late last week reopened hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court following a politically tumultuous week centering on allegations of sexual harassment made against him by a former aide, Anita F. Hill.

The Senate last week delayed its vote on the nomination, which had been scheduled for Oct. 8, for one week to give the committee time to explore the charges. The panel was to question Judge Thomas, Ms. Hill, and other witnesses.

According to news accounts, Ms. Hill, a former aide to Mr. Thomas in the early 1980’s at both the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said that he asked her to date him and spoke to her about his sexual desires and about pornographic films he had seen.

Ms. Hill, a professor of law at the University of Oklahoma, agreed to testify publicly about her allegations after the Senate delayed its vote on the nomination of Mr. Thomas, who headed the Education Department’s civil-rights office from 1981 to 1982 and the E.E.O.C. from 1982 until last year, when he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

President Bush and other supporters stood firmly behind Judge Thomas last week as a firestorm raged over issues such as the Judiciary Committee’s initial handling of Ms. Hill’s allegations and the question of whether the nearly all-male Senate understood the gravity of the sexual-harassment issue.

The new vote on Judge Thomas’s nomination was scheduled for Oct. 15. --M.W.

A version of this article appeared in the October 16, 1991 edition of Education Week as Vote on Thomas Delayed a Week To Weigh Harassment Charge