SAN FRANCISCO — As news of Judge Alex Kozinski’s swift retirement in the face of sexual harassment allegations emerged Monday morning, talk quickly turned to what his decision to step down will mean for the Ninth Circuit and the larger legal community. 

One thing seemed readily apparent: Kozinski’s move mooted the formal disciplinary proceedings set into motion last week when Ninth Circuit chief Judge issued an order Dec. 14. Chief Justice John Roberts had referred that matter out to the Second Circuit for an inquiry headed up by Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann.   

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