Male preserve breached

WASHINGTON - For the first time women are to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that previously all-male preserve which earned national ignominy for its inept and insensitive handling of the sexual harassment charges levelled against a Supreme Court judge, Clarence Thomas, during his confirmation hearings in autumn 1991, writes Rupert Cornwell.

The two women named to the 13-strong committee are both Democrats: California's new Senator Dianne Feinstein and - even more striking - Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, whose primary election victory over the incumbent Democrat, Alan Dixon, last year was mainly due to his criticism of Anita Hill, the Oklahoma professor who brought the charges against Judge Thomas.

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