JONATHAN TURLEY

Alex Kozinski Resigns Amidst Multiple Sexual Harassment Allegations

We previously discussed a controversy involving porn found on the computer of Alex Kozinski, then the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He was later cleared of misconduct but admonished over his conduct.  Recently, however, Kozinski was accused of sexual harassment and improper touchings by over nine more women.  Formal charges were brought against Kozinski and an investigation launched. Kozinski has now resigned from the court.  It was the correct decision for himself, the alleged victims, and the court given these very serious and disturbing allegations from former clerks. The sheer number of women and the pattern described in their accounts made the allegations quite compelling.  The decision is a sad conlusion for some of the most accomplished judicial careers on courts.  Kozinski, who I have known for many years and has been to my class at George Washington University, was the best known libertarian on the bench.  At 67, he could have had over a decade of additional opinions and impact, but his inappropriate conduct prematurely ended a brilliant career.

Kozinski apologized in a statement issued by his lawyer that he “had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike” and that, “in doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace . . . It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize.”

The resignation will bring an end to the investigation.  The early retirement will not only likely avoid negative findings, but it will preserve his retirement pension.