Kozinski Sexual Harassment Allegations to Be Probed by Court

Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg News.

Sexual harassment allegations made against federal appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski by six women will be investigated by the federal judiciary.

The judicial council of the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Dec. 14 ordered the investigation into potential judicial misconduct by Kozinski. The inquiry is spurred by allegations first reported by the Washington Post Dec. 8. Kozinski has been a Ninth Circuit judge since 1985 and was the court’s chief judge from November 2007 to Dec. 1, 2014.

Kozinski is accused, among other things, of calling one of his female clerks into his office several times to view pornography. Kozinski denied ever doing anything intentionally to offend any of his staff, the Post story said. He later told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t remember ever showing pornographic material to my clerks.” He also told the Times, “If this is all they are able to dredge up after 35 years, I am not too worried.”

The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit’s order said the inquiry of Kozinski is consistent with “our past practice” of investigating misconduct allegations against one of the court’s judges “when reported in an accredited media publication.”

The order asks that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. transfer the inquiry to the judicial council of a different federal appeals court to “ensure confidence in the impartiality of the proceedings.”