The White House is decrying an opposition effort to tie Judge Brett Kavanaugh to a sexual harassment scandal that embroiled his former boss, Judge Alex Kozinski.
Kozinski retired in December after multiple former female employees accused him of sexual harassment in the decades prior. Kavanaugh clerked for Kozinski in the early 1990s and their past association is now part of an ongoing campaign to insinuate that he must of have known about the rumors at the time and did nothing.
“Judge Kavanaugh clerked for Alex Kozinski more than 25 years ago. Prior to the public reports late last year, Judge Kavanaugh had never heard any allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment by Judge Kozinski,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement The Daily Caller, adding, “Judge Kavanaugh mentors and supports his law clerks – a majority of whom are women – and has always ensured that all of his employees are treated with respect and dignity.”
“As predictable as it is shameful, the left-wing partisan smear campaign against a distinguished, lifelong public servant has begun.”
The smear campaign surfaced Wednesday when a liberal group attempted to exploit the past relationship between Kavanaugh and Kozinski, saying, “The American public deserves to know what Kavanaugh saw and heard, and if he did witness or hear about any harassment, what he did or could have done to report it.”
Former Clinton campaign operative and leader of anti-Kavanaugh group Brian Fallon also raised the issue in an appearance on CNN, saying, “One other thing that I think is going to be relevant — one of Brett Kavanaugh’s mentors in life and in his career as a judge is a guy by the name of Alex Kozinski who is a judge on the Ninth Circuit who had to resign in disgrace last year because of the #MeToo movement.”
The attack also appeared in a recent commentary for Above The Law titled, “Did Brett Kavanaugh Know About Alex Kozinski?”
The effort has now seen significant pushback with The Wall Street Journal editorial board writing “the political left is going to do whatever it can to defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and the smears have begun even earlier than usual.”
Kavanaugh’s former female clerks however rushed to his defense. Former 2001 Kozinski clerk Susan Engel said, “At no time during my clerkship, or in the years since, did I see or hear Judge Kozinski sexually harass anyone. I was shocked by the allegations that surfaced last year. I would be astonished if Brett Kavanaugh had ever heard anything about this,” in a statement provided to TheDC.
Leslie Fahrenkopf Foley, a summer extern who worked with Kavanaugh in Kozinski’s office at the same time in the early 90s, also said to TheDC in a statement, “I worked for Alex Kozinski in the summer of 1992 while Brett Kavanaugh was a law clerk. It was a completely professional environment,” adding, “Brett Kavanaugh is, moreover, a consummate gentleman and I cannot imagine he ever knew about or condoned any workplace misconduct by Judge Kozinski or anyone else.”
Another of his former Clerk’s Porter Wilkinson elaborated “As a former law clerk to Judge Kavanaugh, I know—as evidenced by the letter signed by his law clerks—that he treats everyone with respect. He does not tolerate sexual harassment in any workplace.”