In a blistering New York Magazine op-ed, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson called for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be impeached.
Abramson’s argument? Thomas lied repeatedly under oath when he denied Anita Hill‘s accusations against him.
“Lying is, for lawyers, a cardinal sin,” Abramson argued.
Mounting evidence against Thomas
During the 1991 confirmation hearings, Thomas faced accusations of sexual harassment by Hill, and Abramson argued that there were many other women who were willing to tell their story as well. Instead, they were silenced.
“It was her word versus his—when it could have been her word, plus several other women, which would have made for a different media narrative and a different calculation for senators. As the present moment has taught us, women who come forward alongside other women are more likely to be believed (unfair as that might be),” Abramson wrote.
Hill claimed that Thomas had talked to her about pornographic videos he watched, a claim that he has repeatedly denied, not just during the hearings, but also when Moira Smith came forward in 2016 with her own #MeToo story about Thomas.
Smith, vice president and general counsel at Enstar Natural Gas Co. in Alaska, was a Truman Foundation scholar at the time. She was at a dinner party helping the foundation’s director prepare for the gathering which included Thomas as the guest of honor. Smith, who was 24-years old at the time, said that Thomas had groped her while he was a sitting justice.
“He was charming in many ways—giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again…‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance,” Smith recalled.
Smith also said that she wanted to come forward to tell her story because of Donald Trump‘s rise in the election.
“Donald Trump said when you’re a star, they let you do it; you can do anything. The idea that we as victims let them do it made me mad,” Smith told the National Law Journal. “Sure enough, Justice Thomas did it with I think an implicit pact of silence that I would be so flattered and starstruck and surprised that I wouldn’t say anything. I played the chump. I didn’t say anything.”
Given the mounting evidence that Thomas’ denials have been outright untrue, Abramson then argued that there was enough evidence to lead to an impeachment.
“Thomas, as a crucial vote on the Supreme Court, holds incredible power over women’s rights, workplace, reproductive, and otherwise,” she wrote. “His worldview, with its consistent objectification of women, is the one that’s shaping the contours of what’s possible for women in America today, more than that of just about any man alive, save for his fellow justices.”