Since news broke on Dec. 8 of six former clerks and externs accusing Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment and misconduct, more women have come forward with their own stories of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge’s odious behavior.
Kozinski, so far, has brushed off the allegations first revealed in the Washington Post article or said he doesn’t recall the alleged behavior. Kozinski, responding to a request for comment for this story, said in an email that he had been advised not to speak to the press and that he had no comment.
Here’s a roundup of women who said they encountered Kozinski’s sexual misconduct.
Heidi Bond One of the six women to come forward in the Post story, Bond, who uses the pen name Courtney Milan, clerked for Kozinski from 2006 to 2007. She is now a romance novelist and has written a detailed blog post about her experience, which she said included the judge asking her to view pornographic images. She wrote that on her first day at work, he jokingly called her “my slave.” According to Bond, the judge told her: “I control what you read, what you write, when you eat. You don’t sleep if I say so. You don’t shit unless I say so. Do you understand?” Read The Careerist for more details on Bond’s experience.
Joanna Grossman The professor at SMU Dedman School of Law wrote onTwitter on Dec. 9 about her clerkship experience at the Ninth Circuit from 1994 to 1995: “Kozinski sent a memo to all the judges suggesting that a rule prohibiting female attorneys from wearing push-up bras would be more effective than the newly convened Gender Bias Task Force. His disrespect for women is legendary.”
Dahlia Lithwick In an essay published Dec. 13 on Slate, Lithwick recalls her first conversation with Kozinski in 1996. She was clerking for another Ninth Circuit judge.
Lithwick, who was traveling and staying in a hotel at the time, had called Kozinksi’s chambers to arrange a get-together with a friend who was one of
Kozinski’s clerks. Kozinski, who picked up the phone and asked Lithwick where she was calling from, asked her what she was wearing. Years later, Kozinski called Lithwick’s house, she said, and told her husband that he was her “paramour.” Now a writer for Slate and Newsweek, Lithwick said she regrets not speaking up sooner about Kozinski, whom she has encountered at various professional events over the last two decades. “In so many of his interactions with me, and conversations around me, Judge Kozinski has always gone one step over the line of appropriate sexual discourse,” Lithwick wrote, adding at the end of the essay: “Somewhere along the way I managed to create a career for myself. In part, I did it by keeping secrets. I’d like to be done with that now.”
Emily Murphy A former clerk for Judge Richard Paez, Murphy was among thesix women in the Washington Post story. Now an associate professor at U.C. Hastings College of the Law, she recalled being with a group of other Ninth Circuit clerks in 2012 discussing gym regimens in the presence of Kozinski. Murphy was chatting about how she liked to use the courthouse gym because other people rarely used it. Kozinski, according to Murphy and two others present at the time who spoke to the Post, suggested that she exercise naked. Despite the efforts of others present to change the subject, Kozinski kept steering the conversation toward the idea of Murphy exercising without clothes, she said. “It wasn’t just clear that he was imagining me naked, he was trying to invite other people—my professional colleagues—to do so as well,” Murphy said. “That was what was humiliating about it.”
Nancy Rapoport The professor at University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law said in a Dec. 9 post on her blog that while she was clerking for another Ninth Circuit judge in the mid-1980s, Kozinski asked her to join him and his clerks for drinks after work. When she arrived, he was alone, she said. As she recalls, Kozinski asked her “What do single girls in San Francisco do for sex?” She also said that after she told him she needed to go home because she’d just found out that her mother breast cancer, he offered to “comfort” her. “I have told countless female law students that I would never write them a letter of recommendation for a clerkship with him, and I have told them why. I didn’t want them ever to be at risk of being sexually harassed by him. I have told some of my female colleagues not to be alone with him, and for the same reason,” Rapoport wrote.