Sen. Grassley sets deadline for Kavanaugh accuser

Will controversy surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh drive women to the polls during the November elections? CNN's John Berman has more.

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 11:42 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 11:56 PM

A Supreme Court nominee with an abysmal record on protecting women's and civil rights stands poised to be confirmed by the Senate. Women's and civil society organizations have loudly declared that his confirmation would be detrimental to working people and the economically vulnerable. His record on a woman's right to abortion and on agency over our bodies threatens to gut Roe v. Wade and eradicate women's reproductive rights.

Just before the vote, a female professor bravely comes out publicly with damning allegations that the nominee sexually harassed and intimidated her (allegations which the nominee vehemently denies).

Sound familiar? I am not talking about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but about then-Judge Clarence Thomas, who was a nominee to our nation's highest court in 1991.

The woman, we all know, was Anita Hill. And I was there as her story unfolded. Twenty-seven years ago, on Yom Kippur eve, I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in my role as President of the Women's Legal Defense Fund, which became the National Partnership for Women & Families. I was joined by wonderful colleagues, including Professor Patricia King of Georgetown University and Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center.

At the time I testified that Judge Clarence Thomas appeared to lack a demonstrated commitment to equal justice. I stated that his record cast grave doubt on his commitment to affirm and support fundamental principles of equal employment opportunity, the constitutional protections against gender discrimination and reproductive freedom. His record had shown an extensive pattern of disregard of principles of fundamental importance to women and their families.

Of course, the parallels between then and now are unmistakable.

Shortly after my testimony, Hill's story was leaked to the press, and she was asked to testify before the Senate. What happened next continues to be one of the most disgraceful episodes in our country's modern history.

Hill came before the Senate and was greeted by an all-male panel, led by Republicans who sought to prosecute her, while Democrats, at best, remained neutral fact-finders. This phony trial resulted in a gross imbalance of power and meant that no one defended Hill and no one prosecuted Thomas. What was on trial was not the fitness of Thomas to be the next Supreme Court justice but instead Hill's moral character and reputation as a woman.

Immediately after the hearing, it was branded as a "he said, she said" moment -- with much of the country undecided. But this would not remain so.

Steadily brewing was the angst, anger and ire of women across the country who slowly began to talk with their coworkers, families, spouses and each other. This was the 1991 version of "Me Too." Women all over the country shared stories realizing that they, too, had been survivors of similar harassment and even worse -- assault and violence.

This brewing anger would lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and what we now know as the "Year of the Woman."

This sentiment led to women across the country turning out to disrupt the misuse of male political power that had marked the Thomas-Hill hearing. For the first time, we witnessed four women being elected to the Senate in the same year, resulting in a paradigm shift.

Today, another woman has been forced to come forward with allegations against a Supreme Court nominee, allegations which the nominee strongly denies. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is courageously speaking out about an extremely traumatic sexual incident. Her accusations are credible and she has corroboration that long pre-dates Kavanaugh's nomination to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, including reports from a therapist in 2012 and a polygraph test this past summer.

I believe Ford and stand with women all across this country in demanding that the Senate hold a full and fair investigation.

That means ensuring that Ford's allegations are investigated by experts who have experience in handling the trauma of sexual assault and violence. That also means ensuring that, unlike Hill, we don't insist on putting Ford on trial for being a survivor of sexual assault. And that means ensuring that critics who obfuscate and dismiss Ford's charges as outdated antics of his youth do not prevail.

In the era of #MeToo, we have torn down the curtain on male abuse of power and toppled the notion that some people are too big to fail. While the stories of courageous women have been inspiring, we are still grappling with how to create systemic change. The court of public opinion has led in this fight. Now it is time for democracy and government to meet the will of the people.

A fair investigation gives us an opportunity to show women across the country that if they dare to speak out, they are not alone and will be backed by our nation's institutions. While we failed Anita Hill, we have an opportunity to do better by Christine Blasey Ford. I am hopeful that this time we will get it right.

We must do better. And we will not go back to 1991. Women are watching.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10863104
Hinds10705207
Harrison7624114
Jackson6774131
Rankin6303114
Lee557798
Madison5311112
Forrest405587
Jones388589
Lauderdale3754149
Lafayette347358
Washington3421108
Lamar310350
Lowndes265168
Oktibbeha262763
Bolivar254686
Panola243754
Neshoba2333124
Marshall229451
Leflore216492
Monroe216278
Pontotoc213631
Lincoln203267
Sunflower198156
Warren189559
Tate187251
Union179626
Copiah176141
Pike170860
Pearl River168170
Itawamba166637
Scott166030
Yazoo164441
Alcorn161529
Coahoma160044
Prentiss159034
Simpson156954
Grenada149545
Adams148852
Leake146244
George138326
Covington137642
Holmes136861
Tippah135230
Winston134326
Hancock132842
Wayne127424
Attala126836
Marion126548
Tishomingo116444
Newton114929
Chickasaw112632
Tallahatchie101227
Clay98527
Clarke96954
Jasper90023
Stone85115
Calhoun82413
Montgomery80726
Walthall80430
Carroll78115
Lawrence76814
Smith76516
Yalobusha75728
Noxubee74817
Perry70127
Greene66023
Tunica64019
Amite61815
Jefferson Davis60818
Claiborne59716
Humphreys56119
Benton51018
Quitman5107
Kemper50019
Webster49514
Wilkinson42522
Jefferson39012
Franklin3866
Choctaw3757
Sharkey33517
Issaquena1254
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 264199

Reported Deaths: 3831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson35310515
Mobile20626372
Madison14521153
Tuscaloosa13897173
Montgomery12844246
Shelby1127878
Baldwin9501138
Lee807167
Morgan740555
Etowah704870
Marshall695358
Calhoun6939126
Houston559140
DeKalb521843
Cullman490650
St. Clair466557
Limestone462446
Lauderdale452257
Elmore440070
Walker3914112
Talladega386157
Jackson373523
Colbert347948
Blount323146
Autauga294542
Franklin265534
Coffee260023
Dale247355
Dallas236832
Chilton235445
Covington234834
Russell23433
Escambia208832
Tallapoosa192692
Chambers189154
Clarke165422
Pike165215
Marion150236
Winston146325
Lawrence139936
Pickens129720
Geneva12929
Marengo127824
Bibb127038
Barbour121729
Butler121142
Cherokee108224
Randolph108022
Fayette102216
Hale102132
Clay95527
Washington94222
Henry9097
Monroe85311
Lowndes82930
Cleburne80914
Macon77522
Crenshaw73830
Lamar7348
Conecuh73215
Bullock71120
Perry7037
Wilcox65918
Sumter60122
Greene45818
Choctaw43620
Coosa3854
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