Another one bites the dust… this time in the 9th circus….err I mean 9th circuit. A prominent judge in the US appeals court has now been accused inappropriate sexual conduct or comments by a total of nine women.
The latest allegations against Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals go back decades and include women who met him at events, according to the Washington Post. The 67-year-old judge based out of Pasadena, California was appointed to the bench by former President Ronald Reagan in 1985 serving the 9th Circuit for 32 years. Seven of those years were served as chief judge from 2007-2014. A child of Romania immigrants that survived the Holocaust fleeing to America, Kozinski is an essayist and judicial commentator in addition to sitting the bench on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals with essays in publications such as Slate, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and National Review. He is known for his irreverent opinions and his clerks often win prestigious clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Post reported that six former clerks and externs on the appeals court had accused Kozinski of subjecting them to inappropriate comments or exposing them to pornography, as well as four women who say he touched or kissed them against their will.
Retired US Court of Federal Claims judge, Christine Miller has accused Kozinski of grabbing her breasts during a car ride in 1986 after a legal community function in the Baltimore area. According to Miller, Kozinski got grabby hands after she refused to go to a motel with him and have sex.
Miller states –
“‘He said if you won’t sleep with me, I want to touch you, and then he reached over, and — this was the most antiseptic — he grabbed each of my breasts and squeezed them.”
Emily Murphy states Kozinski once tried to convince her and other clerks to work out while naked after she mentioned that the court’s gym appeared to regularly be used by employees.
Another accuser is Leah Litman, a law professor at Univerity of California, Irvine. Litman claims the judge spoke of just having had sex, then pinching her side as well as her leg while they were in a restaurant together the evening before they were to appear together on a judicial panel at her school in July.
Yet a third lawyer not identified by name claims Kozinski approached her at a 2008 legal event held in Los Angeles while she stood alone. He then proceeded to kiss her on the mouth and give her a tight bear hug with no warning or invitation. According to the Post, the woman’s husband did confirm the incident in question, however, they said nothing due to Kozinski’s powerful position and a belief that nothing would be done because of it.
Another accuser by the name of Heidi Bond a former law clerk from 2006-2007, said the judge showed her porn on multiple occasions, including pictures of naked college-aged students at a party and a flipbook which a woman’s naked body parts had to be matched up to the corresponding bodies. When asked why nothing was said at the time, she responded with “I mean, who would I tell? Who do you even tell? Who do you go to?”
Kosinski vehemently denies the allegations, issuing a statement through his attorney indicating he believed all of this was a misunderstanding based on his “unusual sense of humor” and he deeply regretted that his ‘unusual sense of humor caused offense or made anyone uncomfortable.’
“I have been a judge for 35 years and during that time have had over 500 employees in my chambers. I treat all of my employees as family and work very closely with most of them. I would never intentionally do anything to offend anyone and it is regrettable that a handful have been offended by something I may have said or done.”
Now as a result of these allegations the 9th Circuit has opened a misconduct inquiry. In a letter to Chief Justice Roberts, 9th Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said it is the practice of the appeals court to investigate published allegations of misconduct. As a result, the circuit initiated a formal inquiry. In an effort to ensure impartiality inasmuch as it can do so, Thomas asked the chief justice to transfer the complaint to another circuit so judges that do not sit with Kozinski would conduct the inquiry. On Friday, Roberts did just that by letter routing the misconduct inquiring to the Judicial Council of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
According to NPR –
Since the Post’s report last week, two other former clerks on the 9th Circuit who did not work for Kozinski, including Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick, have published accounts of their own encounters with the judge. The Washington Post reported Friday night that nine more women say he “subjected them to sexual comments or other conduct, including four who say he touched them inappropriately.”
One of Kozinski’s current clerks has resigned, a spokesman for the court told The Associated Press.
This is not Kozinski’s first time facing misconduct charges either. In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported on a publicly accessible website the judge maintained full of sexually explicit photos and videos. Like this current misconduct inquiry, this one was also transferred to another court where Kozinski was subsequently admonished for exhibiting poor judgment in maintaining material that could prove “an embarrassment to the federal judiciary.”
This existence of this inquiry tends to lend credence to the women’s claims of sexual impropriety on the part of Kozinski.
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Source: Freedom Daily