A Massachusetts Democrat is drawing a hard line when it comes to allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Barbara L'Italien —a Massachusetts state senator who’s running for a spot in the House of Representatives — just announced that she wants to file and impeachment resolution against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas if she gets elected, Politico reported.
Thomas’s confirmation hearing in 1991 was infamously overrun by allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from a time when he worked at federal agencies. The justice himself denied them at the time of his confirmation. Now, L’Italien says she wants to file a resolution that claims Thomas perjured himself during those hearings. L’Italien claimed, per Politico, that there is "considerable evidence that Thomas lied under oath.” Bustle reached out to the Supreme Court for comment.
“There is an elephant in the room for Congress in the #MeToo era. Our leaders have to start talking about it. Two of the most powerful men in the country have been credibly accused of sexual crimes and gotten away with it,” L’Italien said, according to Politico. “Laws cracking down on sexual assault have to be signed by a president who multiple women say assaulted them. Regulations to stop sexual harassment can be struck down by a Supreme Court justice who lied under oath to counter allegations of sexual harassment. Why would victims think a government like that is looking out for them?”
One of the main things L’Italien claims Thomas lied about under oath has to do with Anita Hill, who spoke at the Supreme Court justice's confirmation hearing and who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her while he was her supervisor. Hill — now a professor at Brandeis University — recently gave an interview to John Oliver about workplace sexual harassment in the context of the #MeToo movement.
“There has been a tremendous amount of change in public attitude and there has been a change in the information we have about sexual harassment,” she told Oliver. “Even a few years ago, people were ambivalent about what the consequences should be concerning behaving incredibly badly in the workplace.”
All this is to say that Hill's story and accusations against Thomas are being looked at in a new light with all the #MeToo news. L’Italien said she wants people to think about that and how men in power have been accused of sexual misconduct. She also told Politico that she wanted to call for congressional hearings into President Donald Trump's alleged sexual misconduct. Trump has denied allegations of sexual misconduct, ABC News reported.
Massachusetts constituents will vote on Sept. 4 for someone to replace the retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas. Although it's a crowded race, L'Italien has made national headlines throughout primary season, and her latest Thomas statement is only adding to the light shed on her campaign — particularly since one of her Democratic challengers has faced criticism over his handling of a sexual harassment incident at Boston City Hall, The Boston Herald reported.
L'Italien's spokesperson, Joe Katz, told Politico that L'Italien is the first candidate to push for Justice Thomas to be impeached. Time will tell how much traction she gains and how it will translate in the final votes.