Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and the Story of A Supreme Court Nomination
Not since Watergate has the attention of the nation been so completely captivated by events in Washington as it was in the Fall of 1991 during Clarence Thomas's nomination hearings. The combustible mix of race, sex, and the Supreme Court exploded in a scandal that preempted everything the networks had to offer. No soap opera or courtroom drama could equal the capitol games being played as millions watched on television. Timothy Phelps, the Newsday reporter who broke the story about Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, and co-author, Helen Winternitz, present a riveting chronicle of events--in Washington and in the lives of Thomas and Hill--leading up to the hearings, then take readers behind the scenes in a first-rate piece of investigative reporting. Here is everything you didn't see on television: offstage maneuvers, strong-arm tactics, crucial lapses in judgment, and brutal power plays. These extraordinary hearings pitted blacks against whites (as well as other blacks), men against women, and Left against Right, and touched on just about every benchmark issue of our day: abortion rights, the fate of the Supreme Court, the validity of affirmative action programs, and an explosive new item on the national agenda, sexual harassment in the workplace. Above all, the Thomas hearings thrust center stage the rough and tumble politicking that is everyday business in the Capital. From the moment President Bush introduced his candidate to fill the seat of retiring civil rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall, politics permeated the public perception of Clarence Thomas. Few in the media, or the country at large, believe Bush's claim that Thomas's race had nothing to do with his nomination. Capitol Games details for the first time how Thomas positioned himself as a black conservative in Washington under the mentorship of a lobbyist for the government of South Africa. Here, too, are insider accounts of how Thomas was selected, and of how the radical Right backed his cause. Confirmation seemed surely within Thomas's grasp when allegations of sexual harassment made by an unknown law professor from Oklahoma ignited a media frenzy just two days before the scheduled vote. Tim Phelps's fascinating account of how reluctant witness Anita Hill backed her way into a role as national heroine to some--and villainous spoiler to others--is one of the high points of this fastmoving, always engrossing narrative. Capitol Games reveals why certain key Senators allowed the hearings to unravel into a televised fiasco, and why vital elements of the story, such as the testimony of "second woman" Angela Wright, were held back. Phelps and Winternitz also outline the divisions within the black community, and show how the leader of an influential civil rights organization secretly cooperated with the White House, thereby crippling the anti-Thomas coalition. Based on extensive interviews, prodigious research, and a keen understanding of the ways of Washington, Capitol Games is the definitive account of these history-making hearings, with far-reaching implications for the political landscape of our country.
New York : Hyperion, c1992
xvii, 458 p. ; 25 cm