Lillian McEwen is not one of the women whose name is generally associated with Justice Clarence Thomas and his contentious confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court seat.
But now, at age 65 and retired from a long legal career, with nothing to lose and a book to sell, Ms. McEwen is ready for that to change.
This week’s news that his wife, Virginia, had left voice mail for Anita Hill, asking her to apologize for “what you did with my husband” at the confirmation hearings, gave Ms. McEwen an unexpected opportunity to talk about Justice Thomas, the man she was romantically involved with for “six or seven years” in the 1980s. The phone call, she said in an interview Friday, makes sense to her.
For Ms. Thomas, she said, the accusation of sexual harassment made by Ms. Hill “still has to be a mystery, that he is still angry about this and upset about it after all these years, and I can understand that she would want to know why, and solve a problem if she could — I mean, acting as a loyal wife.”
But Ms. McEwen said she knew a different Clarence Thomas, one whom she recognized in the 1991 testimony of Ms. Hill, who claimed that he had repeatedly made inappropriate sexual comments to her at work, including descriptions of pornographic films.
Ms. McEwen said that pornography for Justice Thomas was “just a part of his personality structure.” She said he kept a stack of pornographic magazines, “frequented a store on Dupont Circle that catered to his needs,” and allowed his interest in pornography to bleed into his professional relationships.
“It starts inside,” she said, tapping her head during a 30-minute interview inside her three-story condominium in Southwest Washington. “And then your behavior flows from what it is that’s important to you. That’s what happened with him, certainly.”
Justice Thomas, through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, Kathy Arberg, declined to comment. Continue reading…