In the wake of rape allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Anita Hill has called on the government to develop a better methodology for investigating complaints against officials. Hill is well known for her landmark sexual harassment case against Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed despite her complaint and still serves on the Supreme Court today.
CNN reports that Hill feels the government has a responsibility to investigate accusations in a fair and neutral way.
Hill said that she herself has seen “firsthand what happens when such a process is weaponized against an accuser and no one should have to endure that again.”
Hill certainly did witness the process firsthand. She was a law professor at the University of Oklahoma when she levied her complaint, testifying that Thomas sexually harassed her when they worked together at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her case made headlines and was discussed on news programs, and lambasted nightly on talk shows and by comedians.
Hill was vilified in the press and accused of lying about the misconduct. Thomas was confirmed. Despite not swaying Congress at the time, Hill’s case made sexual harassment a topic of discussion at many workplaces and ultimately improved processes and education about the abhorrent practice.
A former high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s has accused him of assaulting her in the early 1980s. She has not come forward publicly, but the woman disclosed the alleged assault in a letter to Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, a Democratic senator from California, received the letter and shared the information with the FBI earlier this week.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations, stating that the events did not occur in high school or any time during his life. Hill is calling on Congress to investigate allegations like this carefully and without prejudice.
“Given the seriousness of these allegations, the government needs to find a fair and neutral way for complaints to be investigated,” Hill said in a statement. “The Senate Judiciary Committee should put in place a process that enables anyone with a complaint of this nature to be heard.
“The reluctance of someone to come forward demonstrates that even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly difficult to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power.”
The Senate will be voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation next week, and the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to put the matter to a vote on Thursday, September 20.