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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.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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