Oct 21, 2010 Virginia Thomas and Brandeis security were respectively misguided in leaving an apology-seeking voicemail, and referring the voicemail to the FBI
On Saturday, October 9, 2010, Virginia Thomas — Tea Party activist and spouse of Justice Clarence Thomas — out of the nearly two-decade-long blue, left the following voicemail with Anita Hill:
“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”
By asking Anita Hill for an apology, Virginia Thomas awakened millions more — including those too young to remember the Thomas Senate confirmation hearings — to Hill’s blistering allegations of sexual harassment by Justice Thomas when he was EEOC chair, during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings on his Supreme Court nomination.
By turning over Virginia Thomas’s message to Hill to the FBI, Brandeis’s security office made a public relations gaffe, one that I hope the university will disavow. Too many people turn to law enforcement with a knee-jerk reaction for matters that are not remotely criminal in nature, fearing a backlash if fallout comes from not doing so.
Virginia Thomas’s voicemal to Anita Hill is fully First Amendment-protected. May the FBI dismiss the referral quickly.
As an aside, I first saw Jutice Thomas live in mid-1989, when he spoke by invitation to the quarterly meeting in Washington of the American Bar Association’ Individual Rights and Responsibilities section. He was EEOC chair at the time, and encouraged applications for positions there. He was introduced as a likely candidate for the D.C. Circuit. He soon joined the D.C. Circuit, and then the Supreme Court in 1991.
I never wanted Justice Thomas on the Supreme Court, for his Constitutional views. The same goes with Justices Scalia and Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts. On the one hand, the state of civil liberties is much worse by having them on the Court. On the other hand, even they sometime reach results with which I agree from time to time. However, their overall presence on the Court, I believe, is more damaging than not to the Constitution.