SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — Long-time 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski announced Monday he was retiring from the bench amid allegations that he subjected 15 women to inappropriate sexual behavior.
In a statement released to the Washington Post by Kozinski’s lawyer, the judge apologized saying he “had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike.”
He added that he “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 my clerks to feel uncomfortable.”
The 67-year-old told the Post in the email that he “cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously for this battle (against the allegations).”
The allegations against Kozinski go back decades and include women who met him at events, according to the newspaper. The accusations include inappropriate touching and lewd comments.
Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, told the Post that the judge talked about having just had sex and pinched her side and leg at a restaurant the night before they appeared together on a panel at her school in July.
Christine Miller, a retired U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge, said Kozinski grabbed her breasts during a car ride in 1986 after a legal community function in the Baltimore area. She said it came after she declined his offer to go to a motel and have sex.
A lawyer who was not identified said Kozinski approached her when she was alone at a legal event in Los Angeles in 2008 and kissed her on the lips and gave her a bear hug with no warning.
The newspaper said the woman’s husband confirmed the incident and said the couple didn’t think they could do anything because of the judge’s position.
Kozinski was chief judge of the 9th Circuit, the largest federal appeals court circuit in the country, from 2007 to 2014. He is known for his irreverent opinions and his clerks often win prestigious clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit has opened a misconduct inquiry that was transferred to the Judicial Council of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
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