As Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly assaulting her at a party in the '80s, Washington watchers are looking back for context to the 1991 hearings where Anita Hill testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her in the workplace.
Hill accused her then-boss of making sexual remarks at work and pressuring her to go out with him. The queasy-making spectacle of white male senators questioning Hill — after an FBI investigation — triggered a wave of women running for office that culminated in 1992's "Year of the Woman," while Thomas went on to be confirmed.
Now we're in the #MeToo era, with a Supreme Court nominee accused of attempted rape at a house party when he and the alleged victim, Ford, were teens. Ford has been reluctant to appear in public to talk about something she's spent most of her life trying to forget, and has gone into hiding with her family to preserve her safety, after receiving death threats. But she's now agreeing to testify next week, under certain conditions.
To get a sense of what hearings could look like, we cut down five hours of Anita Hill's testimony, including questions lobbed by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Joe Biden (D-Del.), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Howard Heflin (R-AL). Here's a selection of real questions and comments made during the hearing:
Specter: "You testified this morning that the most embarrassing question involved — and this is not too bad — women's large breasts."
Heflin: "Are you a scorned woman? Do you have a militant attitude relative to the area of civil rights?"
Simpson: "The witness did not say anything to the FBI about the described size of his penis or the description of the movie 'Long Dong Silver.'"
Biden: "I do apologize to the women of America if they got the wrong impresion about how serious I take sexual harassment."