There’s Never Just One…

This, via TPM:

A 41-year-old lawyer has accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her in 1999 when she was a young foundation fellow in Washington, D.C., National Law Journal reported Thursday.

The lawyer, Moira Smith, said that Thomas repeatedly touched her rear multiple times as he pleaded for her to sit next to him at a dinner party hosted by the head of her scholarship program. The alleged incident occurred, Smith said, when just the two of them were alone near the table she was setting for the party.

corisca_and_the_satyr_by_artemisia_gentileschi

It’s been clear since her testimony (at least to me) that Anita Hill was a truthful and courageous witness to Clarence Thomas’s craptastitude, and hence his unfitness to be a Supreme Court justice.  There were rumors at the time that there were more women, with more stories.  But they never testified.  So Thomas survived on the “he-said; she-said; who knows?” defense.

But if there’s anything the intervening decades have taught us, it’s that powerful men who use their positions to impose their sexual demands on women don’t stop at just one.  See, of course, Mr. Donald Trump.

And now this.  Thomas is blanket denying, of course:

“This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” Thomas said in a statement to National Law Journal.

That’ll keep him securely in place, until and unless the next woman comes forward, and the next, and the next…

My bet?

Well, there’s never just one.  But keeping Thomas in his seat is so important to so many of the worst people in the country that I would be utterly unsurprised if (a) Moira Smith gets hit by a world of hurt and (b) anyone else who might have knowledge of any misdeeds by Trump receiving that message loud and clear.

We’ll see.

Image: Artemisia Gentileschi, Corisca and the Satyr, betw. 1630 and 1635.






81 replies
  1. 1
    Trentrunner says:

    2016 is not being kind to women brave enough to publicly call out their sexual assaulters.

    Would be nice to see a shift, though.

  2. 2
    lollipopguild says:

    Because of his unique place in the conservative solar system Thomas can never do anything wrong no matter how wrong it may be.

  3. 3
    Trentrunner says:

    Also, why is MSNBC spending 20 goddamn minutes on “Clinton Foundation Controversy”? THERE IS NOTHING THERE.

  4. 4
    piratedan says:

    reading that Miss Finland of 2006 has now come forth with claims of sexual assault in regards to Mr. Trump.

  5. 5
    Chet says:

    Countdown to wingnuts bringing up Joe Biden’s questioning Anita Hil incredulously in 3…2…1…

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @piratedan:

    Miss Finland of 2006 has now come forth

    Drip-drip doesn’t seem to be having much effect. I’d be happier if Trump were tied to Tom of Finland.

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    Image: Artemisia Gentileschi, Corisca and the Satyr, betw. 1630 and 1635.

    I did not know this:

    This painting was misattributed to Neapolitan artist Massimo Stanzione before Artemisia’s signature was discovered at right in the early 1990s.

  8. 8
    redshirt says:

    @Trentrunner: Because MSNBC is the “Liberal Media”!

  9. 9
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Brachiator: Nor did I.

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    @Gin & Tonic: In any case, all you’ll get is a blanket denial. And maybe a threat of a lawsuit.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    Too many powerful men in DC, look at women like Lay’s potato-chips:

    They can’t stop at just one!

  12. 12
    Chyron HR says:

    Since Julian’s got the fold-out bed, will the Ecuadorian embassy have to set up cots for Donald and Clarence?

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    @piratedan:

    reading that Miss Finland of 2006 has now come forth with claims of sexual assault in regards to Mr. Trump.

    Well, we know that he would not be interested in the current Miss Iceland:

    Miss Iceland 2015 Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir was told she needed to lose weight if she wanted to do well in the Miss Grand International beauty contest.

    According to the Iceland Monitor, a spokesperson for the competiton told Jónsdóttir, 20, to “stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest…”

  14. 14
    Joel says:

    @Trentrunner: please turn it off. If a tree falls in the forest…

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Don’t know how I’ve missed until now the story of Corisca, who escaped when the satyr grabbed her hair, which turned out to be a wig. (I’m trying to come up with some kind of symmetry between Corisca’s Wig and the Thing on Trump’s Head, but not having any success.)

  16. 16
    laura says:

    @Gin & Tonic: oh G&T, you stole my heart with the Tom of Finland reference!
    If only . . .

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    But keeping Thomas in his seat is so important to so many of the worst people in the country that I would be utterly unsurprised if (a) Moira Smith gets hit by a world of hurt and (b) anyone else who might have knowledge of any misdeeds by Trump receiving that message loud and clear.

    They already made an example out of Anita Hill.

    I am not sure what’s left for them to do to Moira Smith.

  18. 18
    germy says:

    when can Ms. Smith expect her voicemail from Ginni, demanding an apology?

  19. 19
    Aleta says:

    Have always wondered if Thomas’ harassment of Hill likewise went beyond his words. Given her reluctance to report at all, her inclination by nature not to destroy him, the political opposition to anything she said, and her respect for the ‘decorum’ of the Senate, it would be understandable if she limited her testimony to only a few of the incidents that might have occurred.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All projection, all the time, with “conservatives”.

  21. 21
    Droppy says:

    @gene108:

    They already made an example out of Anita Hill.

    I am not sure what’s left for them to do to Moira Smith.

    What’s different now is that Anita Hill was made an example of, and that was one of the things that has pushed us forward on sexual harassment and sexual assault. And by forward I mean that we, as a society, are less apt to jump right to the “what was she wearing” or other blame-the-victim responses as an automatic thing than we were in 1991. A lot of people watched Anita Hill and knew this was not a crazy person and that she certainly didn’t look like a liar. The right-wing portrayal of her as nutty/slutty didn’t ring true to enough people, including men, that some sort of corner was turned. Moira Smith is living in a different world than Anita Hill occupied 25 years ago, thanks largely to Anita Hill.

  22. 22
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Ginnie’s going to be using up all her minutes.

  23. 23
    bemused says:

    @germy:

    Drunken voicemail as I recall.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Trentrunner: Might be some cooking tips from John Podesta, so well worth the time spent.

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @laura: Wasn’t sure I’d get any traction out of that one.

  26. 26
    SenyorDave says:

    @Trentrunner: Because they have to balance their hard-hitting investigative reporting on things like the Trump charity self dealing (AKA “stealing”), Trump dealing with Cuba in violation of US law, Trump’s lies about his charitable giving, Trump’s ties to foreign businesses, Chris Christie’s sweetheart deal to Trump’s $30 million casino debt.
    Oh, sorry, that was all from the reporting of David Fahrenthold and Kurt Eichenwald, the only two reporters who seem to practice the art of journalism. I’m sure Tweety is balancing the “both sides do it” scale for the 100th time.

  27. 27
    Fred says:

    Anita Hill was telling the truth. Everybody knew she was telling the truth. Thomas was voted in because the boys in the senate didn’t care.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @germy: That was my thought. Ginnie is going to do some drunk calling tonight.

  29. 29
    Calouste says:

    Seems like another bombshell about Trump dropped today:

    Donald Trump says he hand-picked only the best to teach success at Trump University. But dozens of those hired by the company had checkered pasts — including serious financial problems and even convictions for cocaine trafficking or child molestation, an Associated Press investigation has found.

  30. 30
    Immanentize says:

    @germy: This is my favorite real-with-evidence Thomas story. Asshats all. High tech lynching indeed. I feel like I am getting started on a big rant here.

  31. 31
    Immanentize says:

    By the way, this is Dave Berry’s take on the Thomas confirmation hearing which is by far the funniest column written about that whole fustercluck.

    “Tang breakfast drink….”

  32. 32
    Oldgold says:

    Whenever I consider softening my view of GHWB, I remember his cynical nomination of Thomas to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall, and my negative opinion of him remains steadfast.

  33. 33
    Barbara says:

    @germy: Well, she should make sure that if it is in any way threatening to call the police and press charges.

  34. 34
    Barbara says:

    @Fred: I wouldn’t say they didn’t care so much as half of them knew that they had done the same or worse. Packwood, for instance.

  35. 35
    hovercraft says:

    @Trentrunner:
    POLLs are TIGHTENING !!
    They need this to be true, they want it to be true, so any tiny morsel of negative news about Clinton can help this be true.

    As for Thomas, I’ve always been struck by the fact that black people suspected that OJ was guilty but celebrated him getting off, and yet there was never a similar rallying around Thomas, when he got in trouble during his confirmation, even though he was vying for one of the most powerful positions in the land. They were both people who as they climbed their way up had abandoned their black roots, and yet only one got support.

    Anyway I hope more survivors tell their stories.

  36. 36
    ThresherK says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Okay, I learned about a new avant-garde artiste today!

    Now, like anyone who wants to be clever, I’ll have to wait for the moment to drop this on my real-world friends.

    @Droppy: Huzzah! I can’t wait for Sam Bee to get her (figurative, and perfectly normal-sized) hands on this. I also wish that Larry Wilmore could come out of retirement for special occaisions.

  37. 37
    bystander says:

    @Oldgold:

    Whenever I consider softening my view of GHWB, I remember his cynical nomination of Thomas to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall, and my negative opinion of him remains steadfast.

    …and pushed by the noted Senator Danforth, he of high principles and ethics.

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson apparently crashes and burns: Gary Johnson Melts Down: ‘Why Are You Even Interviewing Me?

    Mountain biking enthusiast Gary Johnson is having a tough election season, what with that Syria boo-boo and his running mate suggesting folks might want to go ahead and vote for someone else. The Guardian’s Paul Lewis successfully located and rode Johnson’s last nerve, causing Johnson to demand, rather shoutily, “Why are you even interviewing me?”

    Lewis began by merely trying inquire about Johnson’s very, very low poll numbers, currently hovering around six percent or so nationally.

    So many clown cars, so little time left. It’s as though all her opponents were determined to self-destruct so that Hillary could win (fingers crossed).

  39. 39
    Oldgold says:

    @hovercraft:
    I think that is pretty easily explained.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    FYWP….

  41. 41
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Trentrunner: I heard that on CBS news as I was driving. My heart fell. This is the story the media believes will bring down the Clintons once and for all. They’re going to pump it up out of all proportions. I just hope Trump does something new to distract the media from their new chew toy.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Brachiator: Johnson is asking a fair question though. Why is the media interviewing someone who will never be President? They need to leave him alone in his “Where is Aleppo?” obscurity.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    But keeping Thomas in his seat is so important to so many of the worst people in the country that I would be utterly unsurprised if (a) Moira Smith gets hit by a world of hurt and (b) anyone else who might have knowledge of any misdeeds by Trump receiving that message loud and clear.

    Let’s all hope for her sake that Ms Smith’s countertops are in good order. And not too nice.

  45. 45
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Fred: And now the boys in the Senate don’t care about a SCOTUS lacking a majority. If Republicans retain the Senate, we’re looking at a 4-4 SCOTUS for years to come. Sigh.

  46. 46
    gogol's wife says:

    @Oldgold:

    Same here! It just happened at a dinner table a few days ago. Somebody starting waxing nostalgic about Poppy, and I yelled, “Clarence Thomas!” I don’t get invited to many parties.

  47. 47
    Immanentize says:

    @trollhattan: I have mentioned this before — Thomas is not the healthiest of men.

  48. 48
    Immanentize says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I think there are two ways this could go — If the Senate REFUSES to consider a candidate proposed by the President (like Garland) that is unconstitutional and the Sup. Ct. would say so. If they actually reject every candidate put up by the President, that is most likely OK — but the republicans do not have the votes to do that.

    In the end, Roberts (and certainly Kennedy) care more about the institution of the Court than they do the immediate politics of their patrons. Alito and Thomas may have different views….

  49. 49

    @hovercraft:
    I was too young to know why, and I would be interested in hearing the actual explanation, but I’ll throw out a possibility: Because, guilty or not, OJ was framed by the police and tried in the court of (white) public opinion for being black. The first was certainly true, and the second matches my poorly developed memories of the time. That he seems to have actually been guilty changes neither.

  50. 50
    redshirt says:

    @Immanentize: Well, I thought Obama could simply appoint Garland after giving the Senate appropriate time to consider the nomination. That they won’t state their opinion by holding a vote after X days should be all Obama needs Constitutionally to appoint Garland. IMO.

  51. 51
    Brachiator says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Why is the media interviewing someone who will never be President? They need to leave him alone in his “Where is Aleppo?” obscurity.

    He is legitimately running for president. I noted in an earlier post that if he gets 5 percent of the popular vote, he qualifies for federal matching funds.

    Before he came across sounding like a loon earlier, I would have said that he should be included in at least some of the presidential debates. We have elections, not coronations, even if most of us have a strong preference for Clinton (or even Trump or Stein).

  52. 52
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Immanentize: Who would have standing to sue?

  53. 53
    Immanentize says:

    @redshirt: I agree — that could be a way a President could proceed (I have floated this before). a President could say, the maximum approval time so far has been 125 days (Brandeis — first Jew on the Court). I will give you 180 days (six months) to advise and if you do not act by then, I will assume “consent.” Can a President presume consent? Who knows?! Big fun!

  54. 54
    Immanentize says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: The Senate

  55. 55
    dr. bloor says:

    @germy:

    when can Ms. Smith expect her voicemail from Ginni, demanding an apology?

    Cocktail Hour +2.

  56. 56
    piratedan says:

    @Immanentize: well, if they don’t like it, the GOP could always sue and take it before the Supreme Court

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    OJ was framed by the police

    Probably not, although the defense created reasonable doubt. Also, Los Angeles celebrities can often get away with murder (e.g., Robert Blake).

  58. 58
    Cacti says:

    @Immanentize:

    Alito and Thomas may have different views….

    Even Thomas seemed to be taking some veiled swipes at the Senate at a recent heritage foundation appearance.

  59. 59
    debbie says:

    @hovercraft:

    Maybe because Thomas was vocal from the beginning that he was against affirmative action?

  60. 60
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Immanentize: The Senate is going to sue itself for obstructing A SCOTUS appointment? How does that work?

  61. 61
    redshirt says:

    @piratedan: Right? That’s the only place this could be settled. Would the SC vote to allow the Senate to shut down the SC?

  62. 62
    burnspbesq says:

    @Immanentize:

    and the Sup. Ct. would say so

    Not a chance. Non-justiciable political question.

  63. 63
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Brachiator: The media not interviewing Johnson doesn’t equate to a coronation of Clinton or Trump. It simply means that they ignore a negligible Presidential candidate (and one who is not too bright).

  64. 64
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Th@Immanentize: The appointments clause doesn’t allow for assumed consent.

  65. 65
    Immanentize says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: The Senate would sue the President for seating a Justice

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    The media not interviewing Johnson doesn’t equate to a coronation of Clinton or Trump. It simply means that they ignore a negligible Presidential candidate (and one who is not too bright).

    Negligible isn’t the same as illegitimate. The voters will decide. The media is not that busy. Why are you so afraid that he gets any kind of hearing? Doesn’t he or almost any other third party have a right, under the law, to try to get enough popular vote to get federal matching funds?

  67. 67
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Immanentize: More likely that the House would impeach him/her and the Senate would remove him/her from office.

  68. 68
    Immanentize says:

    @burnspbesq: Hardly. What was the last serious political question case that might be appropriate to this situation? Nixon and impeachment in 1993?

  69. 69
    Immanentize says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: I remember that did not go so well for the Republicans vis a vis William Jefferson Clinton.

    P.S. Did you know Rehnquist created his own fashion statement by designing the robe he wore when presiding over the Senate trial?

  70. 70
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t care about Johnson one way or the other. If his party ends up with matching funds that would mean nothing to me since I will never vote for a party which is okay with private businesses discriminating against people based on race. I’m laughing at him asking a reporter why he’s interviewing him. Good question.

  71. 71
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Immanentize:

    Did you know Rehnquist created his own fashion statement by designing the robe he wore when presiding over the Senate trial?

    Supposedly he designed it after the robes worn by the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe. Very nearly put me right off Gilbert & Sullivan forever, although I regained my senses.

  72. 72
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @redshirt:

    That’s the only place this could be settled. Would the SC vote to allow the Senate to shut down the SC?

    It’s a judicial Möbius strip.

  73. 73
    laura says:

    @Gin & Tonic: well, it’s a bit inside, clever as all get out and you said what I thought when I read it too.
    So glad I wasn’t enjoying a beverage, or I’d be looking for paper towels.

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Immanentize: He’s also a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator: I’m not afraid he’ll get a hearing. He’s like one of the Pauls…he’ll make sense for five minutes then go off the reservation into Romulan space.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    IMO, the best book about the case is Jeffrey Toobin’s, because he’s a lawyer by training and was able to talk to both the prosecution and the defense. Toobin’s summation was that the LAPD had gotten accustomed to getting confessions from suspects, so their labs had gotten lazy and sloppy, which allowed the defense room to create reasonable doubt. When the ME stupidly leaves blood samples in his hot car for 8 hours, the defense doesn’t need much else.

    Also, there’s very little evidence of framing, unless people actually bought OJ’s pantomime of the bloody glove not fitting.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    That’s like asking why the Minnesota Twins aren’t getting as much coverage right now as the Cubs and Indians are.

  78. 78
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    O/T, but would you ever think of doing a movie blog on something like this? Of the three movies mentioned in this piece, I’ve only seen The Lion in Winter, but I’ve reserved the other two at my library. There’s something in the American character that foments grifting. Post-election seems a good time for some introspection.

  79. 79
    Zinsky says:

    I’m still wondering whether “Slappy” (Uncle Tom) Thomas bequeaths his Long Dong Silver video collection to the Library of Congress when the worthless, unqualified pile of puke kicks the bucket!

  80. 80
    Jay S says:

    @Mnemosyne:@Brachiator: I remember a black columnist writing that he felt that “they framed a guilty man”. On googling the phrase was apparently a common assumption at least in the black community. I read the daily reports from the trial, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the defense had demonstrated that the evidence was not managed properly if not outright fabricated. I was not terribly surprised at the verdict, mildly surprised, but I could see finding reasonable doubt of the government having proved the case.

    Toobin has rarely impressed me. Overall the defense legal team was so sleazy that it seemed like an ugly trial but they managed to hit the mountain of evidence with a sludge hammer. Celebrity bias played a role as well.

  81. 81
    Cleos says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’d be happier if Trump were tied to Tom of Finland.

    I’d be even happier if he were tied to our neighbor’s small herd of pigs; but that wouldn’t phase his followers or MSNBC

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