On July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court of the United States to replace Thurgood Marshall, who had announced his retirement. The nomination proceedings were contentious from the start, especially over the issue of abortion, and many women’s groups and civil rights groups opposed Thomas on the basis of his conservative political views, as they had also opposed Bush’s Supreme Court nominee from the previous year, David Souter.
Toward the end of the confirmation hearings, sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, a law professor who had previously worked under Thomas at the United States Department of Education and then at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), were leaked to the media from a confidential FBI report. The allegations led to a media frenzy and further investigations. Televised hearings were re-opened and held by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the nomination was moved to the full Senate for a vote. Thomas was confirmed by a narrow majority of 52 to 48.
Official portrait of Clarence Thomas as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission c. 1989-1990