A new documentary about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggests his conservative stance on abortion may have been behind the efforts to stop his confirmation.
Time reports the documentary, “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” largely is based on a recent interview with the conservative justice. In it, he speaks about his faith, his philosophy, politics, race and his early life of poverty.
Thomas also talked about his contentious confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate in 1991 and Democratic lawmakers’ focus on abortion.
“Most of my opponents on the Judiciary Committee cared about only one thing: how would I rule on abortion rights?” Thomas remembered. “You really didn’t matter, and your life didn’t matter. What mattered was what they wanted. And what they wanted was this particular issue.”
Here’s more from the report:
“‘This is the wrong black guy, he has to be destroyed,’” Thomas says at one point in the film, characterizing those who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court nomination in 1991. “Just say it. And now at least we’re honest with each other.” Remembering the moment that Anita Hill’s allegations that he had sexually harassed her were made public, Thomas says, that’s when “all heck broke loose.” …
It was after the first round of hearings during which Democratic senators pressed him on his judicial philosophy and abortion that Hill testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her at work. Thomas unequivocally denied each of her allegations then—and he does so again in the documentary.
In the film, he recalls feeling “deflated” when the FBI first came to his house and asked him about Hill’s allegations, and describes the ensuing media onslaught as him being “literally under siege.” “Oh God, no,” Thomas says when Pack asks him whether he watched Hill’s testimony.
“The idea was to get rid of me,” he continued. “And then after I was there, it was to undermine me.”
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Thomas has been a strong supporter of human rights for unborn babies on the court. In May, he wrote an opinion urging the court to consider laws that protect unborn babies from eugenics after the court refused to hear an Indiana case involving a ban on discriminatory abortions on babies with Down syndrome.
“… this law and other laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics,” he wrote. “Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever. Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is dutybound to address its scope.”
The documentary is slated to air in May on PBS.
Pro-life advocates suspect, very similarly, that abortion politics were behind the efforts to derail Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation last year after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
In September, a lawyer for accuser Christine Blasey Ford admitted that part of their motivation was to keep abortion on demand legal.
“He will always have an asterisk next to his name,” lawyer Debra Katz told a feminist conference at the University of Baltimore. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”
The U.S. Supreme Court currently has a five-four conservative majority. Pro-life advocates hope the justices will consider restoring protections to unborn babies or at least limiting the scope of Roe v. Wade, which forces states to legalize abortions up to viability.