Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent at the NLJ, appeared Tuesday on “PBS NewsHour” to speak with host Judy Woodruff about the similarities and differences between the Clarence Thomas sexual harassment hearings in 1991 and the planned Monday hearing focusing on the sexual assault allegation that Christine Blasey Ford brought against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“In terms of differences, Professor [Anita] Hill had quite a lot of corroborating evidence, in terms of witnesses to whom she had spoken about what was happening in the office with Clarence Thomas,” Coyle said. “Dr. Blasey—her corroboration comes much later, in 2012, after the incident. And that’s to her therapist and to her husband. And there’s also the length of time between the actual event and coming forward.”
There’s also a big difference in the makeup of the Senate Judiciary Committee then and now, Coyle noted. “Something else too I think we should look at, how does the Senate Judiciary Committee handle this? In 1991, it was an all-male, all-white committee. This time, you have four women, only on the Democratic side,” Coyle said. She added: “This is as much a judgment of how this committee handles this as it is of the two witnesses.”
Kavanaugh has “categorically and unequivocally” denied Ford’s claim, and a hearing is scheduled for next Monday. Ford’s lawyers at Washington’s Katz, Marshall & Banks are demanding an FBI investigation before any public testimony. At least for now, the hearing is still scheduled for Monday.