Anita Hill

Brandeis University law professor Anita Hill — whose name has been consistent in the news since Joe Biden’s presidential announcement — is tired of settling for the “lesser of two evils.”

In a recent interview with NPR, the lawyer and professor told the network that voters shouldn’t feel the need to settle for “the lesser of two evils” in the 2020 presidential election, without invoking the name of former Vice President — and former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman — Joe Biden.

As Judiciary chairman, Biden took a central role in the questioning of Anita Hill, who had accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in the workplace. Biden was accused of taking a skeptical tone of Hill’s testimony before hearing her out, and of not doing anything to interfere in the proceedings when Republicans on the committee disparaged her and questioned her credibility. Biden also faced criticism over his refusal to call witnesses to testify who could have corroborated Hill’s testimony.

Prior to accepting the Courage Award from the PEN America Literary Gala, Anita Hill told NPR that the 2020 presidential contest should be a moment in which America has a serious conversation about the “public crisis around sexual violence.”

“We need people in place — and that’s leaders in public and private sectors — to confront this issue and put into place policies and practices throughout the government and throughout our institutions generally to address it,” Hill said, adding that “what we need is not just to take the lesser of two evils” in next year’s presidential election.

“I don’t think that we have to make those kinds of choices. I think we can expect more from our leaders,” Hill said.

As he prepared his presidential announcement, Biden called Hill to apologize for the hearing in which she was questioned over Clarence Thomas’ behavior. However, Hill said Biden’s apology was not enough. That attempted apology was also likely sullied by Biden’s wife, Jill, when she said Hill should “move on” from the hearing her husband presided over in 1991.

When The View questioned Biden over what he told Anita Hill, Biden only said he “did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules.

“[T]he thing is the rules were his own rules. He was the one who set them. And he was playing, in some ways, by sort of the Marquess of Queensbury rules, while the other side was playing, sort of, total death,” journalist Jane Mayer told NPR’s Audie Cornish. “And so his rules bent over backwards to try to accommodate the Republicans.”

Hill previously told the New York Times that Biden’s behavior in the 1991 Judiciary Committee hearing paved the way for Republicans’ dismissal of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in 2018 that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school. As of this writing, Dr. Hill has not publicly endorsed any candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary, though an endorsement of Biden seems unlikely.

 

Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

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