A veteran of U.S. Supreme Court confirmation battles condemning "new attacks" on Brett Kavanaugh as "outrageous", but not "unprecedented", as the New York Times made a major revision to a story detailing new allegations of sexual assault against the Supreme Court Justice.
Mark Paoletta is a former assistant White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, who was deeply involved in the contentious 1991 confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas. He also helped guide Neil Gorsuch through his confirmation process and he coached Brett Kavanaugh before his Senate hearings last year.
According to Paoletta, who is now a member of the Trump administration, ideological opponents of Justice Kavanaugh are using the same methods against him as were employed against Justice Thomas nearly 3 decades ago.
"Unfortunately, I see the new attacks on Kavanaugh – during the confirmation process and after – as rooted in the tactics the Left used during the Clarence Thomas confirmation. They are eerily similar...it shows that this is their weapon of choice." Paoletta exclusively told Fox News.
"The 11th-hour allegations against Thomas were totally baseless then and remain baseless to this day," said Paoletta referencing Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against Thomas. "It is the same thing with Kavanaugh...It was all a despicable smear attack to take down a nominee...And after Kavanaugh is confirmed, yet another baseless allegation in the New York Times where the alleged victim doesn’t even remember it. Again, echoes of the continuing baseless attacks on Justice Thomas."
In the upcoming Fox Nation documentary, “The Confirmation Chronicles Vol. 2: High-Tech Lynching”, Paoletta and others, including former Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch, reflected on the hearings that stretched for more than 100 days.
"We got a fax in the White House Counsel's Office on September 23rd, it was signed by Anita Hill. She was a law professor and she had been a former employee of the EEOC and the Department of Education, had worked with Clarence Thomas at those two agencies and it alleged that Clarence Thomas had discussed pornographic movies with her in the workplace, had pressured her for dates, and essentially had been making her feel uncomfortable," Paoletta told Fox Nation.
"I spent my summer running down these falsehoods and responding to them - that he was a supporter of Louis Farrakhan. False. That he flew a confederate flag on his desk in his office. False. All sorts of allegations like that."
Today, Paoletta recounts the strain on Thomas, as well as his determination to see the process through.
"I lived that horrible process with Justice Thomas. I was with him at his home the day the story broke. It’s devastating, it’s soul crushing, particularly for Justice Thomas who lived his life in such an admirable way," said Paoletta. "But as Thomas said in his confirmation hearing, and I am paraphrasing here from memory, ‘I would rather die than withdraw from the process. Not for the purpose of serving on the Supreme Court but for the purpose of not being driven out of this process. I will not be scared. I don't like bullies. I have never run from bullies.'"
Paoletta also believes that critics were driven to new extremes in the case of Kavanaugh and Thomas, "Thomas, as a black conservative who had been in the crossfire and had never backed down, was an existential threat to the Left. And the Left was going to use any means necessary to stop him. Because of the balance of the court...Kavanaugh was also seen as an existential threat."
Finally, he concludes that this "new era" in the history of Supreme Court confirmations poses an important test for conservatives.
"The lesson for Republicans is to fight even harder for their nominees and not let these horrible allegations take down good people who are willing to serve. President Trump has set a fine example — selecting nominees based on whether they will be an outstanding Justice. Thomas has gone on to write nearly 700 opinions, and he is the leader of the originalists on the Supreme Court...Kavanaugh has been through a terrible ordeal and we should be thankful he did not withdraw. Now that he is on the Court, I hope Justice Kavanaugh looks to Justice Thomas for inspiration as he begins his long tenure on the court."
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