Anita Hill says she was ‘shocked’ by Senate Judiciary’s ‘racist and sexist attacks’ on Jackson

Anita Hill wrote in a Thursday opinion piece for The Washington Post that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson were a “shameful spectacle.”

Hill said that “the confirmation process is broken and the panel must act to restore people’s faith in it.”

Hill, who in 1991 accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her, said, “I was subjected to attacks on my intelligence, truthfulness and even my sanity when I testified about my experience working for the nominee at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

“In a spectacularly low moment, senators sought out slanderous statements from my former students,” she added.

Hill, a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University, said that despite her own treatment, she was “shocked” by the interrogation of Jackson, who she said was a nominee with “stellar credentials” and more judicial experience than any of the sitting justices when they were nominated.

Jackson’s confirmation, which is set for Senate vote Thursday, will be historic on multiple fronts, as she will be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court and the first justice to have been a public defender. 

“It was obvious that no matter how composed, respectful or brilliant her responses, her critics’ only goal was to discredit her,” Hill said, blasting questions from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on the definition a woman and from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on critical race theory as having no place in the hearing room. She said their questioning fell short of what should be expected of the Senate.

“The committee should adopt — and enforce — standards such as those that exist for taking testimony in federal court proceedings. Questions should be relevant and well-founded. Witness-badgering should not be tolerated.”

Hill wrote that women are vulnerable to sexist campaigns aimed at undermining their intelligence and integrity. “And women of color must overcome both sexism and racism that is called into play.”