Patterico's Pontifications


Kozinski to Retire Amid Another #MeToo Scandal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:15 am

The first major judge caught up in the #MeToo phenomenon was Alex Kozinski, a well-known Ninth Circuit judge with strong libertarian leanings. The Washington Post published a story about alleged inappropriate behavior with women, and followed it up with another story that brought the total number of accusers to in excess of a dozen women. Now the judge is retiring:

Alex Kozinski, the powerful judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who was facing a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected 15 women to inappropriate sexual behavior, announced Monday that he would retire effective immediately.

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Kozinski apologized, inflatable movie screen saying 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,” he said. “For this I sincerely apologize.”

The whole thing is very regrettable. The behavior alleged in the stories turned out to be fairly widespread and — if all the stories are to be credited — more severe than one might have imagined likely from this jurist. I still don’t see him as someone who was ever out to demean women. I see him more as a fellow with a very effusive personality combined with perhaps a lack of sensitivity as to how people might react to certain comments or behavior. I have met Kozinski on more than one occasion and always found him an engaging and an interesting person, and I think the federal judiciary will be the poorer without his intellect, wit, and direct and clear manner of expression. But I respect his decision to retire, under the circumstances, and wish him the best in the future — just as I also wish the best to his accusers.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

39 Responses to “Kozinski to Retire Amid Another #MeToo Scandal”

  1. He’s libertarian because many women tell him Lassaiz nous faire.

    Pinandpuller (1452dd)

  2. This was very disappointing to see today.

    SPQR (240837)

  3. At least in our own moral panic, or Reign of Terror, we don’t employ the guillotine. A ruined reputation is painful but not fatal.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  4. Perhaps but they got perhaps the only dissenter on the 9th circus, so mission Accomplished by the soft born novelist Courtney Milan nee heidi bond.

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. I read a couple of chapters of one of her books. She writes really well, BTW. It’s not anywhere near p*rn, hard or soft. Not even near “Bernie Gunther”. It’s Sabatini for girls.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. I thought she stated a plausible cause of action under the Twiqbal standard, and she’s no honey boo boo. Which SCOTUS Justice did she clerk for? Kennedy?

    nk (dbc370)

  7. That Phillip ker, was an outlirr, now the late Gerald devillers was decidedly nsfw, there’s also the argentine florencia bonelli

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. O’connor the following year.

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. I only the first of florencias Eli Al saud series.

    narciso (d1f714)

  10. Never book a judge by his cover.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  11. This is what democracy looks like, rev.

    narciso (d1f714)

  12. Yeah, but he was really an Independent

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (4b3a7c)

  13. You can’t be in favor of Trump and democracy unless you re an oxymoron.

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (4b3a7c)

  14. Here is the cover, of the English version, the Spanish one is more sedate

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. I’m worried about the backlash. I just saw a white guy yelling at a cab driver he thought was a woman.

    Pinandpuller (f4d785)

  16. Book title I saw at Wal Mart

    Obey Thy Thug

    Pinandpuller (f4d785)

  17. @14

    Are you an Electoral College dropout?

    Pinandpuller (f4d785)

  18. Mitt “no proof no problem” Romney says this is so good

    happyfeet (048778)

  19. Swampthing’s favorite decamped and ran for the hills on account of baudy or more likely misconstrued jokes?

    Thoughtcrime! And you’re all like, “Harrumph. That couldn’t happen to me. As long as I hunker down Gloria Allred will pass over.”

    papertiger (c8116c)

  20. Anybody seen Rip Van Sessions?

    mg (60b0f7)

  21. When will bosses of any gender learn that they can’t put subordinates in unequal or compromising positions? I isn’t smart. Subordinates aren’t on an equal footing so they may tolerate what happens because they feel they have no choice, but not because they like it.

    DRJ (15874d)

  22. Unless you’ve got a lacrosse team on your side guess the thing to do is shoot yourself.

    “Sgt. Apone, don’t use harsh language either.”

    papertiger (c8116c)

  23. ” a broad sense of humor..” I’m beginning to see the problem…the jokes write themselves….

    macleod (bd8bb2)

  24. I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace.

    Data laugh [YouTube].

    shirley, you can’t be serious? [also YouTube] {nsagh *}

    * (not safe around gender studies and other leftist grievance hustlers)

    papertiger (c8116c)

  25. Lets see he if they target any other iconoclastic judges, or this is just a one of.

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. Steve57 (0b1dac)

  27. Because there aren’t enough statists on the 9th circuit.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  28. It’s a federal appointment, right, so Trump can appoint someone more conservative?

    Yes, DRJ, it’s time for these guys to stop being so cavalier. But I guess until many are taken down, the behavior will continue.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  29. It will be an interesting nomination and confirmation process. Think Clarence Thomas. I envision thousands of honey boo boos on the left coast searching for their high school yearbooks and a sketch artist.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Its the bork gisnberg Kennedy tango, except the calls are coming from inside the housr

    narciso (d1f714)

  31. 6. nk (dbc370) — 12/18/2017 @ 11:53 am

    I thought she stated a plausible cause of action under the Twiqbal standard,

    I don’t suppose that Matthew Spencer Petersen would have known what that was, either.

    I see it’s actually something real:

    Bing says:

    Twiqbal is a colloquial term in American law (civil procedure), referring to two separate US Supreme Court cases that together made it more difficult to sue in federal court, by requiring that plaintiffs demonstrate that their claims are “plausible”, rather than simply describing the case in sufficient detail to put the defendant on notice.

    That could sound kind of dangerous, because a judge could throw any case out of court. I suppoe it’s appealable.

    Other websites add:

    Plaintiffs are now trying to turn the turn the tables and have Twiqbal applied to the defense’s pleading of affirmative defenses.


    The Twiqbal decisions were not without controversy. Concerns about departing from well-established precedent abounded. Also, the adoption of a heightened pleading standard had the potential to invite increased motion practice and impede judicial economy.

    In other words, things could take even longer because they’d make motions to dismiss a case in every case i guess that depends on how courts treat this kind of thing.

    Sammy Finkelman (a248bd)

  32. That could sound kind of dangerous, because a judge could throw any case out of court. I suppoe it’s appealable.

    That’s what happened to Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. Twiqbal i portmanteau word combing Twombly and Iqbal – 2005 and 2007 Supreme Court cases.

    Here’s a law journal article about this.

    This says it doesn’t work very well when you’re alleging malice.

    Sammy Finkelman (a248bd)

  34. Malice is a jury question. Or in a bench trial, a question for the judge only after full trial on the merits. Because it is inferred from the totality of the circumstances. We cannot read minds. Rakoff sucks as a judge worse than the Petersen person on the other thread.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. Judge Kozinski’s decision to retire is not one that I would ever say anything bad about; he’s 67, doesn’t need this, and, given political realities, it may be easier for his replacement to be confirmed now than years from now.

    I fully respect that many women would have felt uncomfortable in those situations, and am loathe to do a Claire Berlinski and basically insist that all women feel flattered when, for example, an Oxford don grabs their bums. If those overtones are not ones that you want in the workplace, power to you.

    BUT. BUT.

    Why is it that in every single description of the allegations, up to and including Dahlia Lithwick’s pseudo-apology piece, not a single woman (despite being amazingly credentialed, at the top of their own professional game, and lawyers) managed to croak out a single, explicit “Hey, Judge, this is making me uncomfortable. Can we talk about something else?”

    I was a 21-year-old undergraduate who was propositioned by her faculty advisor, a man who even back then was featured in national news for his research, and I – who has a spine roughly the consistency of soggy cream puff – managed to tell him, very bluntly, that I did not want to go for walks in the park with him, and that I thought his queries to go out drinking with me one-on-one were not appropriate.

    Yet Dahlia Lithwick, a household name, a graduate of Stanford Law, an editor of Slate, has this to say about her silence in the face of what she claims was harassment:

    The former Kozinski and 9th Circuit clerks I’ve spoken to in recent days feel heartsick, as I do, that for the sake of our own careers and professional legitimacy we continued to go to the dinners and moderate the panels, all the while hoping this story would break someday and we’d be off the hook.

    “The story would break,” as if stories break themselves and are not broken by people who risk it all to come forward. Dahlia Lithwick shouldn’t be the one waiting for someone else to let her off the hook; she should be the one blowing the whistle and taking flak for women who aren’t 50 years old and with their own columns in Slate. (As an aside, in what world would a Slate editor lose professional credibility for taking down a Reagan appointee for sexual harassment?) If what she says is true, her utter cowardice should shame her into submitting her own resignation.

    Without going into detail about my own life over the past few years, I will never forget the look of shame on my father’s face when he said to me, “Why aren’t you suing these people? Aren’t you a lawyer? You know this is going to happen to more women.” Ultimately, he’s right. I’m not a perfect plaintiff, but claiming my scalp only empowers the predator in question, and… I’ve been on cable TV, have a law degree and spokeswoman training, and have family and friends who will support me in this horrible fight. Passing the buck in hopes that a better plaintiff will magically appear is fantasy.

    I firmly believe that the workplace should not have sexual overtones, and really respect that a lot of people in Judge Kozinski’s employ would feel uncomfortable speaking up at the time… but FFS. If it bothers you that much, use your big girl words that you learned when you got your fancy law degree. From everything I know of Alex Kozinski, he would actually respect that.

    bridget (784de3)

  36. I’m teaching my granddaughters the head butt because guys expect the knee. There’s an attitude that accompanies that.
    That said, Bridget’s point–that these women only become brave years and years after the fact when, if what they say is true means more victims and if not cannot be disputed and is politically useful–is extraordinarily on point.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  37. Tavis Smiley doubles down, PBS calls his raise:

    In a strongly-worded rebuttal, a PBS spokesperson responded that Smiley “needs to get his story straight,” arguing the journalist……..has been inconsistent as to the number of employees with whom he’s had sexual contact and questioning the sincerity of his support for the women who came forward when his company required them to sign non-disclosure agreements.”

    harkin (c60926)

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