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Anita Hill: Confirmation no surprise

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Anita Hill, the woman who a year ago accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and ignited a national debate on the issue, said Tuesday she was not surprised that she had lost.

The Senate voted to confirm Thomas to the high court despite Hill's dramatic accusations that he had broken sexual harassment laws when she worked for him in a variety of government posts.

Thomas vehemently denied the charges, claiming they were politically motivated and calling Hill's televised testimony "a high-tech lynching for an uppity nigger."

"I really was not surprised," she said in an interview broadcast on NBC's Today Show.

"What was involved was a political power play," Hill said. "It really had little to do with what I was there to describe."

The Oklahoma law professor said the public's reaction _ polls showed that more people believed Thomas than Hill _ reflected what is typical in many such sexual harassment cases, blaming the victim and ascribing unseemly motives to his or her decision to go public.

She also had some harsh words for Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who emerged as Hill's most skeptical and harshest inquisitor.

Asked about Specter's recent statements that he was sympathetic to a woman who claimed she had been harassed, Hill said it was hard to believe considering "how destructive and unproductive his performance was."

Hill said her strongest memories of the controversial testimony were how her friends and family stood by her and joined her at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to embrace her.