John Danforth

The US supreme Court has been under intense scrutiny the last couple of years, and perhaps no member has been in a harsher spotlight than Clarence Thomas.

But Thomas is no stranger to controversy and criticism.

The political opposition began virtually as soon as he was nominated to the high court by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, to succeed the retiring Thurgood Marshall.

About this time, Thomas coined the phrase “high-tech lynching” to describe his experience.

Helping shepherd the Thomas nomination through the US Senate was Missouri Republican John Danforth. He was a long time friend, colleague, and even mentor to Thomas, and was eager to see him win confirmation.

That opposition reached a crescendo when a former co-worker of Thomas’s, a woman named Anita Hill, came forth to testify about alleged sexual harassment by Thomas.

Thomas did, of course, ultimately when confirmation. And in 1994 Danforth wrote a book describing the Clarence Thomas episode.

And that’s when I met the Senator. So here now, from 1994, Senator John Danforth.

John Danforth will be 87 next month.

Clarence Thomas is the oldest member of the current Supreme Court, and is its longest-serving current associate justice.

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