Washington, D.C. – South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott is asking curators of the National Museum of African American History and Culture to include an exhibit on Justice Clarence Thomas, the second black Supreme Court justice.
Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since 1991 and is controversial among Democrats for his conservative politics behind his legal decisions. His early legacy, however, centers on his Senate confirmation hearings that involved allegations he sexually harassed a colleague at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission named Anita Hill.
Hill’s testimony opened the floodgates to a conversation about gender and race. Women pointed to what they called an unsympathetic Senate Judiciary Committee made up entirely of white men. Thomas, who denied the allegations, at one point compared the confirmation hearings to “a high-tech lynching.”
“While Justice Thomas and I do not share the same keen mastery of constitutional law, I can identify to some degree, with some of the inherent stereotypes and personal obstacles that Justice Thomas overcame to reach the pinnacle of his profession,” Scott wrote.
“I can attest that, similar to Justice Thomas, as an African American man growing up in abject poverty of the Deep South, without the full arsenal of a nuclear family, and having struggled early on in school, options for my success seemed limited and role models or mentors were hard to find.”
Scott didn’t mention the confirmation hearings in his letter. He has also signed onto a congressional resolution with several other Republican senators asking Thomas’s legacy to be included in the museum.
The museum currently displays countless South Carolina artifacts, including a reconstructed cabin from Edisto Island, and a portion of the ubiquitous bus driven by Johns Island community organizer and civil rights activist Esau Jenkins.