May The Circle Be Unbroken

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The backlash from Gropegate – and the blase reaction of entirely too many Republicans – has brought us back to a more than quarter century old scandal.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – he of the “high tech lynching” defense – has now been accused by an Alaska energy lawyer of groping her repeatedly at a Virginia dinner party back in 1999.

An Alaska lawyer says that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas groped her at a 1999 dinner party, according to a report.

“He groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him,’” Moira Smith, who was 23 at the time and is now a vice president at counsel at Enstar Natural Gas Co., said.

She told the National Law Journal, which first reported her accusations, that the justice grabbed her behind several times at a party at her boss’s house in Virginia when she was a Truman Scholar.

“He was 5 or 6 inches down and he got a good handful and he kept squeezing me and pulling me close to him,” Smith said.

The Daily News has been unable to independently verify Smith’s accusations, though the Law Journal spoke to three of her housemates from the summer of 1999, and all said that Smith told them about being inappropriately touched by Thomas and that she was distraught after the dinner.

However, the longtime conservative jurist denied the allegations, and his spokesman told the publication, “This claim is preposterous and it never happened.”

Those of you not old enough to remember Thomas’ confirmation hearings in real time have no idea what a scandal it was back in 1991. Suffice to say that after Anita Hill, you’d think Clarence Thomas would cut this shit out. Apparently not.

And before anyone goes there, this issue isn’t about race, folks. It’s about women not having autonomy over their bodies or their choice to engage – or not – in sexual relations. I can’t for the life of me understand why some people don’t see the importance of this issue. 

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