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Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence…
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Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas

by Jane Mayer, Jill Abramson

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NOTES AND BIBLIO
  saintmarysaccden | Jan 28, 2013 |
I read this after being highly impressed by Mayers' The Dark Side, and being interested in the Clarence Thomas nomination after reading Anita Hill's book several years ago.

Strange Justice is as dramatic a book as any novel could aspire to be, with its intrigues, last minute cliffhangers, ,and major questions on the issues of race and ideology involved. An African American man, born poor but given some advantages in education, nominated for the highest court in the land, despite a thin resume, is pitted against a woman who claims that he sexually harassed her while serving as the head of the EEOC, the office charged with prosecuting sexual harassment cases. A man, moreover, who declared early in his career his dream of being a Supreme Court Justice, and whose ambition led him into political and social views at odds with the majority of his own race.

It is clear that the stories of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas were so opposite that one of them had to be lying. It is a case that shows how difficult it is to be objective, given how highly politically-charged the nomination was. Questions of truth became so entangled with questions of political expediency that fairness was impossible.

Mayer shows that the preponderance of the evidence, not all of which was presented at the nomination hearing, is that Clarence Thomas lied, and that Anita Hill spoke the truth. However, the liar was rewarded and the speaker of truth had her life at best severely disrupted.

It is of note, now that Joe Biden is on his way to the Vice President's office, that he does not come out of this saga looking particularly well. He was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that held the nomination hearing. He efforts seem mostly to be good-natured, but not particularly effective and too often tinged by political consideration. Mayer does show the constraints forced on him by the situation though, and one can hope he learned a lot from the experience.

So overall, the book is a rip-roaring good read, and a morality tale about the lengths that ambition will go to in order to hold or obtain power. This applies not only to Thomas, but to Republicans and Democrats involved with the case. And, sadly, it shows how people doing what they believe to be the best for the country can be so poorly rewarded. ( )
1 vote reannon | Nov 22, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Mayerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abramson, Jillmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395633184, Hardcover)

The falsehoods and distortions involved in the selling of Clarence Thomas to the American people neither started nor ended with the treatment of Anita Hill's accusations. From the beginning, the placement of Thomas on the high court was seen as a political end justifying almost any means. The full story of his confirmation thus raises questions not only about who lied and why, but, more important, about what happens when politics becomes total war and the truth--and those who tell it--are merely unfortunate sacrifices on the way to winning.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:30 -0400)

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A look at the conformation process for Clarence Thomas' appointment to the Supreme Court.

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