Now that Clarence Thomas’s wife has decided to take time out from her ethically-challenged fundraising to raise the question again, here’s what I regarded at the time as brass-bound proof that Thomas acceded to the Supreme Court only by repeated acts of perjury:
One of the memorable parts of Hill’s testimony was her claim that Thomas harassed her by discussing hard-core porno movies, including one that starred “Long Dong Silver.” Thomas insisted that he’d never even seen such a film. Some Democratic staffer came up with the idea of subpoenaing Thomas’s video-rental records. Either a film starring “Long Dong Silver” would appear on the list, or it wouldn’t. One way or the other, it would have been pretty clear who was telling the truth.
Thomas’s friends on the committee, led by Arlen Specter, raised a terrific fuss about the invasion of Thomas’s privacy, as if the issue were his viewing habits rather than his veracity. Joe Biden folded like a house of cards, and the records were never produced.
When there are two sides to a dispute, each of which knows the content of a piece of evidence, and one side demands that the evidence be produced while the other demands that it not be produced, the inference that the evidence is unfavorable to the latter side is, I think, a very strong one.
Now it’s possible that both Hill and Thomas were lying: perhaps he was a porn-watcher and she knew about it, but in some way that didn’t involve his use of film criticism as a tool of sexual harassment. That would make me think worse of Hill, but not better of Thomas. Perjury is still perjury, and he almost certainly committed it in order to join the court he now disgraces.