The Current

Kavanaugh case brings Anita Hill's historic testimony to the fore: journalist

The recent accusation of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh bears resemblance to the Anita Hill case, according to Jill Abramson who covered the 1991 testimony.

Abramson points to the profound change Hill instigated in politics

University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in Oct. 11, 1991. (John Duricka/Associated Press)

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Journalist Jill Abramson calls it the Anita Hill moment meets the #MeToo movement. 

Abramson, who covered Hill's 1991 testimony, finds the sexual assault accusation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford strikingly familiar. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

In 1991, Hill brought sexual harassment to the forefront when she testified about being harassed during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas.

As the Senate's judiciary committee invited both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify, Abramson points to the profound change Hill instigated in politics to get to where we are today.

Twenty-seven years ago, Hill's case created a tidal wave of women voters to elect six women senators, she told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. 

"There were only two women senators before the Hill/Thomas hearings, now there are 23.

"The new women senators who were elected back in 1992 actually called themselves 'the Anita Hill class.'"

Abramson added that this doesn't mean every aspect of the way people behave in the workplace has changed.

"We found that out, of course, in the past two years with the growing accounts of women speaking to various reporters, investigating the pervasive nature of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault still in the workplace with the #MeToo movement."

To discuss this further and what the accusation against Kavanaugh means for his confirmation, The Current spoke to:

  • David French, senior writer for the National Review.
  • Jill Abramson, Guardian columnist and the co-author of the 1994 book Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas.

Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.

Produced by Allie Jaynes and Julie Crysler.