Video: Justice Thomas takes shot at Anita Hill

updated 9/28/2007 6:53:46 PM ET 2007-09-28T22:53:46

Breaking his 16-year public silence on his bitter confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says Anita Hill was a mediocre employee who was used by political opponents to make claims she had been sexually harassed.

Thomas writes about Hill, his former employee in two government agencies, and the allegations that nearly derailed his nomination to the high court in 1991 in his autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son."

A copy of the book, which goes on sale Monday, was obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Powerful interest groups were out to stop him at all costs and they chose "the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct," he writes.

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Hill, who is also black, had worked for Thomas at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She first made her allegations after Thomas had been nominated to the high court, 10 years after she began working for him.

In the book, Thomas describes Hill as touchy and apt to overreact, not someone who would wait a decade to level a charge of harassment. She had complained to Thomas only about his refusal to promote her, the justice says.

"Her work at EEOC had been mediocre," he writes.

In 1991, Thomas adamantly denied Hill's accusations that he made inappropriate sexual remarks, including references to pornographic movies.

Thomas says now that he was "one of the least likely candidates imaginable" for such a charge, having made clear his desire to run an agency staffed mainly by minorities and women professionally.

Thomas acknowledges that three other former EEOC employees backed Hill's version of events, but he says they either had been fired or had left the agency on bad terms.

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