Book: Strange Justice

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Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas

Author: Jane Mayer, Jill Abramson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

After almost three years of intensive research, two superb journalists shed much light on the explosive issues that arose during the confirmation hearings: Did Thomas indeed harass Hill? How did Hill’s allegations leak to the press? Why was the Senate Judiciary Committee unable to solve the mysteries surrounding the case?

But as Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson show, the story of Thomas’s ascension to the Court goes far beyond what emerged during the hearings. Over the course of their investigation, the authors conducted hundreds of interviews—including the first on-the-record interview with Anita Hill about her role in the controversy—and uncovered many documents that were never shared with the public. For the first time, we learn about Thomas’s ten-year campaign for the high court and the doubts about him that haunted the White House from the start. We see the profound cynicism behind the administration’s campaign for Thomas: its canny manipulation of the weak and scandal-ridden Senate, its quiet collaboration with the religious right, its calculated creation of “grassroots” black support. In the end, we learn the truth about who Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill really are and how both were treated unfairly by Washington’s establishment.


The falsehoods and distortions involved in the selling of Clarence Thomas to the American people neither started nor ended with the treatment of Anita Hill’s accusations. From the beginning, the placement of Thomas on the high court was seen as a political end justifying almost any means. The full story of his confirmation thus raises questions not only about who lied and why, but, more important, about what happens when politics becomes total war and the truth—and those who tell it—are merely unfortunate sacrifices on the way to winning.

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