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Jacob Heilbrunn

Jacob Heilbrunn

Posted: October 19, 2010 08:17 PM

If Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a shred of self-respect left, he will resign in the wake of the shocking news that his wife, Ginny Thomas, left a message for Anita Hill at her office at Brandeis University, demanding that she apologize for supposedly besmirching her husband's reputation two decades ago before the Senate. Thomas claims that she was extending an "olive branch."

Some olive branch. It sounded more like harassment, which is why the FBI is now investigating, as the New York Times reports.

It's bad enough that Thomas has been agitating against the Obama administration by founding a shadowy nonprofit group called "Liberty Central." While her actions are not illegal, they bring further discredit upon her husband. He will doubtless view the hubbub as further evidence of his status as a victim of the liberal media elite.

He is anything but. Thomas, who has achieved the remarkable feat of compiling the most retrograde record on the Supreme Court, is also its most unimpressive member. For the other members of the Court, however, it must be painful to watch the shenanigans of his wife, who is either witless or gratuitously nasty, or, more likely, both, tarnish the institution, which is already becoming dangerously politicized by its right-wing members, who appear to shrink at nothing when it comes to engaging in judicial activism, as long as it fits their own political predilections.

But on a purely human level, it is disgusting as well that Anita Hill, who had the fortitude to tell the truth in the face of right-wing obloquy, has to endure the intrusive and ugly meddling of Thomas' wife who clearly has no conscience, let alone a soul. No one should be in doubt about the character of either Thomas.

Update: It seems that Anita Hill was uncertain whether or not the call was a prank, which is why she turned it over to the police and wanted the FBI to check it out. But at a minimum I think the call is an embarrassment and constitutes a form of harassment.