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At the same time that Clarence Thomas has become a bolder presence on the national scene, Anita Hill, the woman who nearly derailed his Supreme Court nomination, has largely receded from the spotlight. “The complete evaporation of Anita Hill has helped Thomas,” says Emory University Law School professor David Garrow. “If she were in any way visible, it would be a reminder of what happened 10 years ago.” What happened then was Hill’s electrifying testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, describing a pattern of lewd behavior and sexual harassment on the part of Thomas when Hill worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas vociferously denied it and fought back, eking out a 52-to-48 victory. Hill has not totally vanished from the scene. She teaches at the Heller Graduate School of Brandeis University, having left the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1996. Hill still speaks out about sexual harassment and women’s issues in carefully chosen forums. In 1997 she wrote a book about the confirmation experience and her life before and since, called “Speaking Truth to Power.” And she does a limited amount of television commentary, appearing occasionally as an analyst with host Catherine Crier on Court TV’s “Crier Today,” which airs daily Monday through Thursday. In an early appearance on that show, Hill spoke frankly about her experiences with Thomas, says executive producer Rita Barry: “She was amazingly candid, but she is very matter-of-fact about it. I don’t see any personal vendetta at work.” In fact, Hill’s unemotional, almost aloof way of describing her ordeal may explain why she is not a more familiar figure on television. Her cool manner does not play into the confessional, teary-eyed tone that much of nonfiction television demands these days. “I do not eagerly share with strangers the personal aspects of my life,” Hill wrote in her book. Hill has declined to participate in 10th anniversary stories, and she stayed out of the recent controversy over author David Brock’s confession that he knowingly included falsehoods in his written attacks on Hill. In his new book, “Blinded by the Right: Confessions of an Ex-Conservative,” Brock also claims that Thomas used him to discredit one of his critics. Hill had already dealt with Brock in her own book, dismissing his “fabricated and misquoted sources,” and asserting that “all of Brock’s false claims, accusations, and theories fall into a void about black women, another void about women who raise harassment claims, and still another, even larger void of misogyny.”

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