Virginia Thomas’s account of what she and her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, went through during the Senate confirmation hearings brought more letters than any other story this year (PEOPLE, Nov. 11). Overwhelmingly, correspondents condemned her decision to be interviewed and the Thomases’ to be photographed. Many were angry about Mrs. Thomas’s suggestion that Anita Hill’s charges of sexual harassment grew out of thwarted love for Justice Thomas.
I was appalled when I saw Virginia and Clarence Thomas on the cover of PEOPLE. To portray them as smiling heroes belies the deeply disturbing Senate confirmation process. The allegations made by Professor Hill raised very serious questions about Clarence Thomas’s conduct and integrity. To then turn his struggle into something noble is beyond the pale. To elevate to cover-page material his wife’s gratuitous conjectures about Anita Hill’s affections shocks one’s sensibilities. Many Americans, including myself, do not regard Justice Thomas’s confirmation as a cause for celebration and I, for one, would have hoped that PEOPLE would have shown some restraint in sensationalizing this story.
KATHY H. ROCKLEN, New York City
Clarence and Virginia Thomas could take lessons in dignity from Anita Hill. To have Ms. Thomas desperately continue to suggest that Ms. Hill’s motives were those of a scorned woman or that she was a tool of special interest groups sounds like a pathetic attempt to hide the truth, perhaps even from herself. It was particularly offensive to suggest that her husband—while serving on the highest court in the land—shouldn’t “owe any of the groups that opposed him anything.”
LESLIE McCOOK, Wyndmoore, Pa.
It would appear from Virginia Thomas’s story that Justice Clarence Thomas should have been nominated for sainthood instead of the Supreme Court.
JEAN A. BROWN, Torrance, Calif.
Most readers will scoff at Virginia Thomas’s declaration that the fiasco she and her husband were thrust into was “spiritual warfare,” but many recognized it as just that. The battle ended victoriously, but the war is surely not over. We’ll keep praying, Virginia. God bless!
ANN H. STALEY, Jackson, Miss.
How preposterous to find this pathetic political appointee grinning like the high school tackle who just got the cheerleader. Your cover and the inane interview are all-time lows for PEOPLE and our country. To paraphrase the least qualified nominee ever elected to the Supreme Court, you guys, this is brutal.
E. EARLE, Cape Neddick, Maine
The picture of the Thomases on the couch with a Bible—please, PEOPLE!—a more staged, phony picture I have never seen. Do you think the American people, and especially American women, are idiots?
BARBARA M. TOMANELLI, Wilmington, Del.
As an attorney, I found it incredible that the newest Justice on the Supreme Court would be pictured grinning and hugging his wife like the latest television celebrity—especially in light of what transpired during the confirmation hearings. I believe this is unbecoming of a Justice and degrading to the court. Justice Thomas should be ashamed of himself, as should the President who appointed him.
THOMAS G. STOVALL, Nashville
After the Senate narrowly confirmed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, he called for a “time of healing.” Virginia Thomas’s self-serving, vindictive attack on the integrity of Anita Hill does not promote healing. Maybe the Thomases should read the Bible they are opportunistically holding for the benefit of the camera. Then they would truly understand graciousness and healing.
WILMA P. MANKILLER, Stilwell, Okla.
Virginia Thomas’s speculation that Anita Hill was probably in love with her husband comes closer to the truth, in my opinion, than anything that emerged from the kangaroo courtroom hearing in the Senate that we all endured. If Clarence Thomas had been guilty of serious sexual harassment, it would have surfaced years ago. One might conclude that Anita Hill suffered rejection and frustration, took some explicit sexual references out of context and used them to do personal and political damage. She used a very sharp knife—the kind that a jealous woman would use.
GERALD S. WALKER, New York City
Black women around the country are sharing a rich chuckle at Virginia Thomas’s assertion that she believes “Anita Hill was probably in love with [her] husband.” The mistress on the plantation used to say the same thing about her female slave every time she turned up pregnant by the master. Most of us are thankful that the Goddess has seen fit to bless Virginia’s life with the irresistible Clarence, who is sure to provide her with even more learning opportunities and enlightening experiences in the future, which are likely to be shared by the rest of the country and the world.
ALICE WALKER, Mendocino, Calif.
For Virginia Thomas to suggest that Miss Hill made the harassment allegations because she was “in love” with her husband is self-serving and ludicrous. Mrs. Thomas made reference to her own alleged sexual harassment—are we to conclude that Mrs. Thomas was “in love” with her tormentor?
MARY AND STEVE HOLSTROM, Overland Park, Kans.
Virginia Thomas is right that the fight was “good versus evil.” But I’m not sure that when she shut the kitchen blinds, she shut the good in and the evil out.
SHARON A. ANDERSON, Chicago
There’s a story told in law school about the counselor who, in his over-eager defense of a client, stated he was so sure the man was innocent that the real culprit would come right through the door to the courtroom. The entire assemblage turned to the door except for the client. He knew no one would be coming. The jury convicted him. Thomas, by not listening to Anita Hill’s testimony, showed he didn’t need to watch that door either.
CANDACE KRAFT GEGENBERG, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
When I was a kid, taking the Lord’s name in vain meant swearing or cursing. These days I’m inclined to think it means tossing around the name of God to protect or promote one’s public image. I still believe Anita Hill.
JAN SIDEBOTHAM, Washington, D.C.
Your article reflects Justice and Mrs. Thomas’s strong stand for God, country and family. I commend Virginia Thomas for her strength and unwavering courage.
JAN TAYLOR, Jacksonville, Fla.