Like a pebble thrown in a pond creates widening ripples, the story of sexual harassment unfolding today began at a small dinner party organized by some law professors at American University’s Washington College of Law in the summer of 1991.  Among the guests was Nan Aron, founder and president of Alliance for Justice, a liberal advocacy group. During the dinner, a male law professor casually mentioned he knew about someone who had been sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, President George H.W. Bush’s choice to succeed retiring civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, who had argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Court.  Democrats wanted to block the 43-year-old Thomas, who they didn’t think had the stature to fill the seat. An allegation of sexual harassment against him could be ammunition. Aron didn’t get Anita Hill’s name that night, but it wasn’t hard to figure out since the professor mentioned she had worked for Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and that she was from Oklahoma.

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