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Joe Biden declined to filibuster the nomination of Clarence Thomas despite sexual assault allegations

There are no records to confirm that Biden declined to filibuster Justice Thomas' nomination, although there were sexual allegations against him.

There are no records to confirm that Biden declined to filibuster Justice Thomas' nomination, although there were sexual allegations against him. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was Senate Judiciary chair when Anita Hill brought allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Biden has been criticized for his handling of Hill’s testimony and failing to call additional witnesses who could have supported Hill’s claims. According to Senate.gov’s records, Thomas won Senate Judiciary Committee nomination with 52 votes out of 100, including 11 votes from Democrats.

Activists have said Biden could have done more to shield Hill from Republican attacks as the head of the Judiciary Committee and could have structured the hearings more fairly. Biden allowed Thomas to testify before and after Hill did, and did not call upon three women who could have testified about their own experiences with Thomas and office culture. Angela Wright, Ms. Hartnett, and one other woman, Rose Jourdain, who died in 2010, were ready to back up Hill’s account before the committee. However, Biden ended the hearings before they were heard from in public. Over the years, Mr. Biden has suggested they either backed out or were reluctant.

NYT reported in April 2019 that Biden called Hill and shared “his regret for what she endured” 28 years ago, when, as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he presided over the confirmation hearings. Hill told NYT that the call from Biden left her feeling deeply unsatisfied. NYT reported that she was grilled in excruciatingly graphic detail by an all-white, all-male Judiciary Committee led by Biden, then a senator from Delaware.

She said she views Biden as having “set the stage” for 2018’s confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who, like Justice Thomas, was elevated to the court despite accusations against him that he had acted inappropriately toward women. When Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in 1982 while they were in high school, Biden said in 2018 of the allegations: “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.” In 2018, Biden called for an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims before the Senate voted on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. He said then, “What should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be, you know, abused again by the system.”

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