ABC News was offered a preview of new documentary about the life of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The film, produced by conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and Manifold Productions is scheduled for theatrical release in early 2020. Thomas sat for 22 hours of interviews over a six month period in 2018, according to ABC News. The documentary is entitled, “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words.”
ABC reports that in the movie, Thomas says, “I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it’s gonna be the Klansmen; it’s gonna be the rural sheriff… But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern day liberal. They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you.”
Thomas sat for more than 22 hours of interviews over a six-month period in 2018, according to the film’s publicist. Manifold has advertised the movie as a chance to “tell the Clarence Thomas story truly and fully, without cover-ups or distortions.”
Those of us of a certain age can recall the spectacle of Thomas’ October 1991 Senate confirmation hearings. Law professor Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Thomas, contained in a “confidential” FBI file, were leaked to the media. She had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hill’s testimony turned the confirmation hearings into a “trial” of then-Judge Thomas. Sounds almost like the Kavanaugh Senate confirmation process, doesn’t it?
Thomas strongly denied the allegations and called the media frenzy which followed as a “high-tech lynching.” After all was said and done, Thomas was confirmed by a 52-48 margin.
When questioned about his confirmation process, Thomas said, “Do I have like stupid written on the back of my shirt? I mean, come on. We know what this is all about.” He added, “People should just tell the truth: ‘This is the wrong black guy; he has to be destroyed.’ Just say it. Then now we’re at least honest with each other. The idea was to get rid of me. And then, after I was there, it was to undermine me.”
The hearings were presided over by then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Joe Biden, who has been widely criticized by his fellow Democrats for his treatment of Anita Hill.
In April, former Vice President Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination. On that same day, Biden’s campaign disclosed that he had called Hill to apologize for his handling of the case.
The New York Times conducted a telephone interview with Hill. They reported:
Ms. Hill says the call from Mr. Biden left her feeling deeply unsatisfied.
She declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s words to her as an apology and said she was not convinced that he has taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings — or for the harm he caused other victims of sexual harassment and gender violence.
She said she views Mr. Biden as having “set the stage” for last year’s confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who, like Justice Thomas, was elevated to the court despite accusations against him that he had acted inappropriately toward women. And, she added, she was troubled by the recent accounts of women who say Mr. Biden touched them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.
In the film, Thomas is asked to “respond directly to Biden’s line of questioning during the hearings on his views of natural law.” He answers, “I have no idea what he was talking about. I understood what he was trying to do. I didn’t really appreciate it. Natural law was nothing more than a way of tricking me into talking about abortion.”
Bill Russo, the deputy communications director of the Biden campaign, responded to ABC with the following statement: “Then-Senator Biden voted against Clarence Thomas in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he argued against him on the Senate floor, and he voted against his confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. It is no surprise that Justice Thomas does not have a positive view of him.”