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Throughout the book, Thomas describes wrestling with "the beast of rage" -- a beast he says he learned to put to rest when he turned away from radical politics as a college student and began embracing the conservative ideology that has now come to define him as a justice. But that rage resurfaces as he recounts the details of his confirmation fight and the events leading up to it. Thomas describes his relationship with Hill over the years, painting her as a difficult and insecure employee who, he implies, had feelings for him. He hired Hill to work for him at the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education, he says, as a favor to a friend -- a "fateful blunder." At the time, she had been working at a top law firm -- and when he asked her why she wanted to leave to go work at an obscure government agency, he says she told him a partner at the firm had asked her out and -- after she said no -- began giving her bad work assignments. Hill's work, according to Thomas "wasn't outstanding," but he found it "adequate."
He says she later followed him to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, telling him: "You're a rising star." They later had a falling-out of sorts when he passed her over for a promotion, and says he was relieved when she left the EEOC to take a job in academia. After that, he says he heard from her from time to time, "almost always when she wanted something."
On the day Hill held her first press conference, Thomas describes his reaction: "I lost my grip," asking, "How could someone I'd tried to help turn on me so viciously?" That night, he says, he went home and "curled up in a fetal position." In what Thomas describes as a "dark night of the soul," he says he had a stark realization: "I'd been nominated to sit on the Supreme Court -- but my refusal to swallow the liberal pieties that had done so much damage to blacks in America meant that I had to be destroyed."
Thomas was, of course, confirmed -- by a margin of 52 to 48. His reaction upon hearing that news from his wife: "Whoop-dee damn-do." He says he thought to himself: "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
Saturday, September 29, 2007
ABCNews on the Autobiography
Justice Thomas Breaks Silence on Bitter Confirmation Hearings: