Conservative Icon On The 9th Circuit Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Six women have accused Judge Alex Kozinski, a prominent conservative jurist on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, of sexual misconduct.

The Washington Post reports that six women who clerked or externed on the 9th Circuit say Kozinski showed them pornographic material in his chambers, or made lewd remarks in their presence. Two women spoke to the Post on the record. The other four spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisal.

“I have been a judge for 35 years and during that time have had over 500 employees in my chambers,” Kozinski said in a statement. “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.”

Heidi Bond, who clerked for the judge from 2006 to 2007, said Kozinski summoned her to his chambers on three occasions to show her pornography. He asked Bond whether she found smut arousing, and if she thought the material was photoshopped. She further claims he showed her a table charting all the women with whom he had sexual relations.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Bond clerked for Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court following her clerkship on the 9th Circuit. Kozinski is known as a “feeder judge” as his proteges often go on to clerkships at the high court.

Bond, who writes under the pen name Courtney Milan, described her experience at length in a Friday blog post.

A second 9th Circuit clerk, Emily Murphy, said the judge made provocative, sexually suggestive remarks about her in the presence of other court employees. During a 2012 reception at a San Francisco hotel, Murphy told colleagues she enjoyed exercising at the gym in the 9th Circuit courthouse, since it attracted few people. Kozinski, present for the conversation, suggested she exercise in the nude. He repeatedly raised the prospect of working out naked during the course of the conversation. Murphy said she had the impression the judge was imaging her naked, and was encouraging others present to do so. The account was confirmed by two unnamed individuals party to the conversation.

Four other externs and clerks said the judge showed them pornography or made remarks with sexual overtones.

Kozinski is married and has three children.

After the Post’s story went to press, female lawyers revealed on Twitter that something of a whisper network exists in the nation’s elite law schools, which steers prospective female clerks away from predatory judges, including Kozinski.

The judge made no statement with respect to his continued service on the court. According to Fix the Court, a nonpartisan judicial watchdog, the 9th Circuit Judicial Council could adjudicate a complaint against him, as could the conduct and disability committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The 1980 Judicial Conduct and Disability Act (JCDA) establishes a process by which individuals may file complaints against federal judges for “conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts.” Discipline under the JCDA can include censure or impeachment referrals.

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