BOOK REVIEW: Capitol Games: Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and the Story of a Supreme Court Nomination
Posted by Tod Lindberg on 1st October 1992
The American Spectator
Capitol Games: Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and the Story of a Supreme Court Nomination; by Timothy M. Phelps and Helen Winternitz; Hyperion /458 pages/$24.95
The problems with Timothy Phelps and Helen Winternitz’s Capitol Games: Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and the Story of a Supreme Court Nomination begin with its title and end with its last sentence. The title is noncommittal, nonjudgmental. It seems to promise a disinterested insiders’ account of events from June 27, 1991, when Thurgood Marshall announced he was retiring from the high court, to October 26, when the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas for the seat — journalism in its “objective” or “fair” or “balanced” sense.
As for the last sentence, we may take it as an oblique summa of the authors’ position on the truth or falsity of Prof. Hill’s charge that Thomas sexually harassed her: “The Republicans had no appetite,” the authors archly aver, “for investigating the alleged conspiracy that they say had been concocted to sabotage their nominee to the Supreme Court.” It is a detail, the final detail, that the authors seem to regard as “telling.” What does it tell? That even the Republicans, who are earlier described as willing to “stop at nothing” to see their man confirmed, may themselves not have believed Thomas.