Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, as he is introduced at the Federalist Society in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2007.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, as he is introduced at the Federalist Society in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2007. Charles Dharapak/AP
In a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twist, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas earlier this month left a voice-mail message for Anita Hill, asking Hill to apologize for her 1991 testimony accusing then Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment.
Virginia Thomas has confirmed through a spokesman that on Oct. 9, she left a voice-mail message at Hill's Brandeis University office. News organizations, including The New York Times and ABC, have reported that they heard the recording, which said: "Good morning, Anita Hill. Its Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray on this, and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."
Professor Hill told The New York Times she had nothing to apologize for because she told the truth in 1991, when she testified that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at two federal agencies.
Hill said through a Brandeis spokesman that she was unsure when she received the message, whether it was left by a crank, and she eventually turned it over to the campus police, who referred the matter to the FBI. The bureau had no comment Tuesday night.
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 1991. Hill is now a professor at Brandeis University.
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 1991. Hill is now a professor at Brandeis University. John Duricka/AP
Virginia Thomas said in a statement that she had not meant to offend Hill and intended the call as an "olive branch." But Hill was quoted as saying, "She can't ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive."
Hill's 1991 sexual harassment charges against Thomas were first made in private to the Senate Judiciary Committee and then reported by NPR. The public disclosure of the charges led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open its inquiry. The second round of confirmation hearings, carried live daily on TV and radio, riveted and divided the nation, but Thomas narrowly won confirmation.
Virginia Thomas has long been active in Republican and conservative politics. But over the past year, she has assumed a more prominent role, founding a group called Liberty Central, which advertises itself as linked to the Tea Party, and raising funds from anonymous donors to oppose what she has called the leftist "tyranny" of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.