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Congress must investigate sexual assault allegations against Clarence Thomas

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Tell Republican leaders in the House:

“Immediately launch a thorough, transparent investigation and hold emergency Congressional hearings about the allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.”

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    Congress must investigate sexual assault allegations against Clarence Thomas

    A little more than 25 years ago, Anita Hill’s courageous testimony about her sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas gripped the country and shined a spotlight on misogyny and sexism’s pervasive role in our country’s most powerful institutions. Hill was maligned, defamed and abused by many in the media, on the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee and in a public far too willing to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt and to blame and shame his accuser.

    This week, with evidence mounting that Donald Trump is a serial sexual predator, another woman has gone public with explosive allegations of being sexually assaulted by Justice Thomas in 1999.1

    Thomas has a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but the latest allegations, combined with Hill’s account and other women’s stories that surfaced at the time of Thomas’ confirmation hearings, demand that Congress get involved now.2

    Tell House Republicans: Immediately launch a thorough, transparent investigation and hold emergency Congressional hearings concerning allegations of sexual harassment by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Asked why she was sharing her story, Moira Smith, a 41-year-old attorney who says she was groped by Thomas in 1999, said:

    When powerful men commit sexual assault, they count on their victims keeping it a secret. When Justice Thomas touched me inappropriately and without my consent, I was 23 years old – and felt there was nothing I could do. Seventeen years later, it is clear that sexual harassment, misconduct and assault continue to be pervasive, having an impact on all women.3

    Smith is right. Though Hill’s courage shone a bright light on sexual harassment in the workplace and encouraged many more women to come forward, it is still dangerous for women to speak up and speak out when they are harassed.

    As Anita Hill wrote recently, our “responses to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence must start with a belief that women matter as much as the powerful men they encounter at work or at school, whether those men are bosses or professors, colleagues or fellow students.4 The fact that many Republican politicians feel safe supporting a serial sexual predator as their presidential nominee only reinforces how far we still have to go.

    Republicans claim to care about women and families, but their record of restricting access to reproductive health care, refusing to expand paid family leave or make efforts to ensure pay equality speaks for itself. Now is the time to pressure them to take a real stand against sexual harassment and sexual assault.

    Tell House Republicans: Immediately launch a thorough, transparent investigation and hold emergency Congressional hearings concerning allegations of sexual harassment by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Republicans in Congress have been relentless in using their power to call sham committee hearings and have squandered millions of dollars in taxpayer money to set up and run special investigative committees to pursue their extreme right-wing agenda against Planned Parenthood, American Muslims and Hillary Clinton, among others. Recently, House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz said he was gearing up for “years” of investigations into Hillary Clinton’s record if she becomes president.5

    Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars chasing a blatantly partisan agenda, House Republicans could be helping to fight misogyny and sexism. They should conduct a real investigation into whether one of the most powerful figures in Washington has committed sexual assault.** Thanks for everything you do.

    References:

    1. "Lawyer claims Justice Clarence Thomas sexually assaulted her in 1999," NPR, Oct. 27, 2016.
    2. Johnny Brayson, "Did Other Women Accuse Clarence Thomas After Anita Hill's Testimony? Hill Was Not The Justice's Only Accuser," Bustle, April 15, 2016.
    3. Hannah Levintova, "Lawyer Accuses Justice Clarence Thomas of Groping Her in 1999, Mother Jones, Oct. 27, 2016.
    4. Anita Hill, "What we can still learn from sexual harassment," Boston Globe, Oct. 11, 2016.
    5. Allegra Kirkland, "Rep. Chaffetz Promises ‘Years’ Of Clinton Investigations If She’s Elected," TPM, Oct. 27, 2016.