Anita Hill knows a thing or two about how it is to be treated badly by the Senate Judiciary Committee during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Hill writes, "The shameful spectacle of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson makes clear: The confirmation process is broken and the panel must act to restore people’s faith in it."
"During the confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, I was subjected to attacks on my intelligence, truthfulness and even my sanity when I testified about my experience working for the nominee at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," Hill writes. She says last week's spectacle "is not simply about Jackson’s reputation, which was repeatedly smeared by Republican senators peddling false narratives about her supposed coddling of child pornographers and terrorists. It is about the legacy and future of the Senate and the Supreme Court itself."
She says that she discounted pre-hearing proclamations from Republicans who said they would offer little resistance to Jackson’s confirmation.
"I knew, from painful experience, that assessment was overly optimistic. Even so, I was shocked by the interrogation of Jackson, a nominee with stellar credentials and more judicial experience than any of the sitting justices when they were nominated. It was obvious that no matter how composed, respectful or brilliant her responses, her critics’ only goal was to discredit her. I appeared as a witness before the committee and Jackson as the nominee, but in both situations Republican senators demonstrated their willingness to employ racist and sexist attacks."
"It shouldn’t be this way," Hill continued. "The committee should adopt — and enforce — standards such as those that exist for taking testimony in federal court proceedings. Questions should be relevant and well-founded. Witness-badgering should not be tolerated.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee should take a hard look at reforming its proceedings and return the confirmation process back to something that it — and the country — can view with pride," she added.