Allegations Against Justice Clarence Thomas Discredited — Again

AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sidney Davis
AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sidney Davis
Washington, DC

Journalist Jill Abramson attacked Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday in the New York magazine, arguing for his impeachment. But Abramson and the women she cites in her hit piece are left-wing detractors of Thomas with credibility problems, and Abramson herself was reportedly fired from her previous job for not telling the truth.

The subtitle of Abramson’s article claims there is “new” evidence of sexual harassment involving Thomas. She says this evidence warrants his removal from the Supreme Court, which would be unprecedented in American history. Justice Samuel Chase was impeached by the House in 1804, but he was acquitted by the Senate in 1805 and continued to serve on the Court.

Abramson’s main thesis is that Thomas lied under oath about sexual harassment in 1991 during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. She insists these allegations are true, that Thomas committed an impeachable offense and should be removed from the bench.

The article cites several women and says they form a pattern of harassment similar to the claims Anita Hill made against Thomas in 1991. Abramson’s #MeToo bandwagon piece recycles allegations Thomas’s critics tried pushing in a previous article on October 27, 2016, tying that story to then-candidate Donald Trump to build an anti-Republican sexual harassment narrative. The article failed to gain any traction then, so the justice’s opponents are trying again.

But the allegations she discusses are not new, largely rehashing previously debunked accusations. The only new accusation she published on Monday was subsequently denied publicly by the woman she named.

Abramson has a reputation for dishonesty and is a zealous ideological enemy of Thomas’s. She was previously the executive editor at the New York Times. According to news reports, NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger fired Abramson from that prestigious position for misleading both him and CEO Mark Thompson.

Some of the women she cited in her smear job evidently have had similar trouble with the truth.

Moira Smith, for example, is a lawyer in Alaska. She claims that the justice groped her at a dinner party in 1999. Thomas denied the allegations, telling the National Law Journal, “This claim is preposterous and it never happened.”

Smith is a partisan Democrat, who is married to a former chairman of the Alaska Democratic Party — one who was forced to drop out of a 2008 congressional race when people discovered he was making fake websites targeting a rival. Smith’s ex-husband from a previous marriage worked for President Barack Obama in a position focused on climate policy.

Norma Stevens was a prominent figure present at this private dinner, held immediately prior to an event where the Stevens Award would be given, named in honor of her late husband. When Smith’s allegations were published in October 2016, a shocked Stevens issued a statement denying Smith’s account, beginning, “I was stunned to read in the news that a woman had accused Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her at [this] dinner party … my first thought was—‘that couldn’t have happened.’”

“Justice Thomas was never alone — he was the guest of honor,” she explained.

“In addition to that, the house was not large,” Stevens continued. “The dining table was in full view through the kitchen door where Louis Blair and his assistant were cooking.”

Blair was the dinner host and the owner of the home where it was held. For his part, Blair said that he had never heard Smith’s allegation before and was “skeptical that the justice and Moira would have been alone.”

Another accuser in Abramson’s article is Angela Wright, who worked for Thomas in the 1980s when he served in the Reagan administration.

Wright is a disgruntled former employee who has a record of being fired. During his confirmation hearing, Thomas testified that when he still served in the executive branch, he terminated Wright for calling a male colleague a “faggot.”

Wright’s friend Thelma Duggin admitted to the FBI that she recalled Wright saying after the firing, “I want to get him back,” and that Wright was “pissed that he had fired her.” Moreover, Wright “was looking for a way to get him back.”

Wright seems to have a pattern of acting in anger and losing her job. She was quoted by the Associated Press on October 11, 1991, as saying that, in 1978 when she worked for Rep. Charles Rose (D-NC), “I got fired because I got angry and walked off the job.”

Another former supervisor, Kate Semered at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the FBI that Wright is “vengeful, angry, and immature.” Semered was going through the process to fire Wright from that job as well. Wright headed off termination by quitting, then accusing Semered of racial discrimination. Former USAID senior official Jay F. Morris noted “startling parallels” between Wright’s accusations against Thomas and those against Semered.

The AP reports that even her friend Duggin acknowledged that Wright is “a little shaky on the integrity side.”

Abramson’s article also claimed that a Washington lawyer, Nancy Montweiler, said Thomas harassed her by discussing pornography and sexual acts.

But to the contrary, Montweiler sent a message to New York magazine after it published Abramson’s article, denying the former editor’s claim.

“I knew Clarence Thomas in a professional capacity and never experienced any type of inappropriate behavior from him,” said Montweiler. “Moreover, despite allegations in the article, I do not recall any conversations with Justice Thomas regarding inappropriate or non-professional subjects.”

What is going on here? Why did Abramson make such acidic attacks that do not hold up under scrutiny?

Carrie Severino, a former law clerk to Thomas and currently chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network, says that Abramson is on an “obsessive quest to try and destroy Clarence Thomas (and pull her career out of free fall).”

Thomas has proven one of the most reliable conservative votes in Supreme Court history. He is a principled originalist when it comes to constitutional interpretation and a textualist when interpreting federal statutes or any other written law. The far left has been out to get Thomas by any means since he was nominated for his high office.

This is where Abramson’s mask slipped. She denounced the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart upholding the federal ban on gruesome partial-birth abortions. (In these, full-term babies are partially delivered feet-first. Then, before the head comes out, a doctor cuts open the back of his or her head, sucks out the baby’s brain with a vacuum, and finishes delivering the now-dead child.) Abramson argued a woman has “reproductive rights” to demand this barbaric practice and faulted Thomas for not striking down the ban as unconstitutional.

She cited other 5-4 cases as well, where Thomas followed the original meaning of the Constitution or the clear text of a federal law. Abramson clearly wants a judicial activist who will render the outcomes she prefers.

Abramson’s ideological crusade leads her to open hypocrisy on this very issue of sexual misconduct. “In theory, I’m all for zero tolerance of sexual misconduct,” she said in 2017. However, she added that President Bill Clinton and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) should not have been removed from office for their sexual transgressions because their losing power to enact liberal policies “may cost women rather than benefit them.”

In 1991, Thomas decried the “high-tech lynching” he was experiencing at the hands of liberal opponents. Abramson, Smith, and Wright demonstrate that those attempts continue to this day.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

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