Tag Archives: Anita Hill

Ruling on NS/Niqab (bonus, link to Anita Hill on CBC radio this am)

For those who are interested, here are Justice Weisman’s ruling on the 2 time round for N.S. (niqab wearing complainant in sexual assault trial).  He finds that she will have to remove the niqab for the preliminary inquiry.  N.S. will appeal at least partly on the basis that the judge refused to hear evidence about the unreliability of demeanor evidence.   Note that in the counsel list, N.S. doesn’t have counsel – though her counsel on the appeals, David Butt, did testify in front of the preliminary inq judge earlier this month.  Thanks to JB for the file.  Here’s my Osgoode colleague, Faisal Bhabha (who acted for intervener Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations at the Supreme Court) on the Radio this morning about the case.

Here’s something more uplifting – Anita Hill was on CBC radio this morning!

In the early 90s when a law professor named Anita Hill appeared before a U.S. Senate committee considering the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, her allegations of sexual harassment would force a nation-wide debate on women’s rights and an education for a row of Republican and Democratic male Senators who had clearly never before been publicly forced to confront such realities in their cavernous halls of power. Today, we speak to Anita Hill on what’s changed and what has not.

Listen here.

The documentary, Anita, is on at HotDocs in Toronto (click here for times/tickets still appear to be avail for May 4)

From Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Mock comes her latest feature, Anita. In 1991, Anita Hill’s powerful testimony at the confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas brought sexual harassment into America’s national spotlight. Twenty years later, Ms. Hill revisits those hearings and for the first time on film speaks about the gruelling nine-hour experience of confronting an all-white male jury who demonstrated little sensitivity towards sexual harassment. A sometimes painful and shocking look back, she reflects on how that testimony shaped her life and consequently a nation. This is a must-see film, particularly for young women, for the understanding it offers on how these historic hearings treated sexual harassment and how dismissively it was viewed by the public. Heather Haynes [from HotDocs website]


Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill (and critical race feminism) 20 Years Later

Yes, it’s been 20 years since Anita Hill’s testimony at the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas.  If you are not familiar with the story of the Hill-Thomas hearings, here are some possible sources:

Wikipedia, CNN. transcripts of her testimony.

Both Thomas and Hill have published memoirs which feature the confirmation hearings (Hill’s is Speaking Truth to Power in 1998 and Thomas wrote a more general autobiography, My Grandfather’s Son, in 2007).  Here are a few books which took on the task of unpacking and explaining the impact of the hearings:

Race-Ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, Toni Morrison, ed., 1992

Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings, Anita Hill & Emma Coleman Jordan, 1995

African American Women Speak out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas, Geneva Smitherman, ed., 1995

I think it might be hard to convey how dramatic these hearings were, how much attention was focused on them, and the number of different rifts they exposed, but this conference (October 15, NYC) looks like it will do a great job.  The speakers list includes a number of powerhouses of critical race feminism, including Lani Guinier & Kimberle Crenshaw.

Anita Hill was probably the first female law professor I ever “saw” (on TV!) – and even to my rather young self, she looked young back then.  Her steadfastness at the centre of a real firestorm of controversy was impressive then.  The echoes continue, from the bizarre personal phone call from Justice Thomas’s wife to Professor Hill last year, to this conference (sponsors listed here).

About the Conference | Anita Hill 20 Years Later.