Justice Clarence Thomas Criticizes Biden for ‘Tricking’ Him During Confirmation Hearings

November 28, 2019 Updated: November 28, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas criticized Joe Biden, a former senator and vice president, for his questioning during the hearings that ultimately saw Thomas confirmed to the court.

Thomas, 71, was confirmed on Oct. 15, 1991, with a narrow 52-48 vote.

Thomas was asked during the filming of a documentary about the judge about Biden’s line of questioning regarding “natural law,” reported ABC, which saw footage months before its early 2020 theatrical release.

“I have no idea what he was talking about,” Thomas said.

“I understood what he was trying to do. I didn’t really appreciate it. Natural law was nothing more than a way of tricking me into talking about abortion.”

A Biden spokesman said in response: “Then-Senator Biden voted against Clarence Thomas in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he argued against him on the Senate floor, and he voted against his confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. It is no surprise that Justice Thomas does not have a positive view of him.”

Biden, 77, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination for the third time. A longtime senator, he was vice president to President Barack Obama from 2008 to 2016.

joe biden communion
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High School in Florence, S.C., on Oct. 26, 2019. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Law professor Anita Hill takes an oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on Oct. 12, 1991. Hill filed sexual harassment charges against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. (Jennifer Law/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas told the filmmakers for the documentary that he didn’t appreciate what transpired during the hearings and said the animus he saw from Democratic lawmakers was primarily over abortion.

“I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it’s gonna be the Klansmen; it’s gonna be the rural sheriff,'” Thomas said, according to ABC.

“But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern-day liberal. They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you,” he added.

Similar to the situation that unfolded with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas saw his nomination derailed by a woman coming forward late in the process to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Like Kavanaugh’s accusers, Anita Hill was unable to provide corroboration for her claims and Thomas eventually was confirmed.

Thomas said in “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words” that Hill’s efforts to prevent him from getting on the nation’s highest court was about him holding different views.

“Do I have like stupid written on the back of my shirt? I mean come on. We know what this is all about,” Thomas said.

“People should just tell the truth: ‘This is the wrong black guy; he has to be destroyed.’ Just say it. Then now we’re at least honest with each other. The idea was to get rid of me. And then after I was there, it was to undermine me.”

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