“The Supreme Court is only as good as the people who are on it,” the lawyer and scholar tells Vox.
Anita Hill made history in 1991 when she launched a national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace during the live televised nomination hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Hill, a lawyer, scholar, professor, and Black woman, discussed in excruciating detail the harassment she suffered, allegedly at Thomas’s hands, when he was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and she advised him.
In a few hours of gripping testimony, Hill sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a group of 14 white men chaired by Joe Biden, then the Democratic senator from Delaware, who grilled her about her experiences with Thomas. Their line of questioning was infamously grueling, setting up Hill as an aggressor, rather than a victim. The Senate ultimately confirmed Thomas’s nomination.
Thirty years later, Hill — who has repeatedly said that testifying was an ethical responsibility — is still leading conversations about how gender-based violence permeates American society, and she still has plenty to say about the Supreme Court. She is hosting a new podcast, Getting Even with Anita Hill, and last fall, she released her latest book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, in which she chronicles the movement to trust and support survivors.
With the recent confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, I reached out to Hill for the latest episode of Vox Conversations, to discuss Jackson’s confirmation, Hill’s work as an activist, and the future of the Supreme Court. At the heart of Hill’s scholarship is her quest to bolster equality, whether she’s exploring how woman judges affect the justice system or the ethical obligations of American institutions such as the...