Federal Appeals Judge, Accused of Serial Harassment, Won't Receive Misconduct Investigation

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Former federal appeals judge Alex Kozinski, accused by at least 15 women of sexual harassment or assault, won’t be subject to a full misconduct inquiry, a panel of 2nd Circuit judges decided Monday. The panel essentially argued that because Kozinski has resigned from his post, it does not have the authority to investigate him in his status as a retiree.

Kozinski stepped down from his post on Dec. 18, days after a series of Washington Post reports detailed the stories of a total of 15 women—including former colleagues and clerks—who say Kozinski had inappropriately touched or verbally harassed them.


“We recognize that the complaint references grave allegations of 2 inappropriate misconduct, which the federal judiciary cannot tolerate. Indeed, the federal judiciary has taken steps to ensure that the workplace is free of misconduct,” the 2nd Circuit judges wrote. “As to the instant matter involving former-Judge Alex Kozinski, the Second Circuit Judicial Council is obligated to adhere to the Act. The Act is concerned with individuals who currently exercise the powers of the office of federal judge.”

The judges then requested that the federal judiciary pass the decision along “to any relevant Congressional committees for their information.”


Allegations against Kozinski published by the Post range from the former judge asking female colleagues to watch porn in his chamber to fondling their breasts. “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,” one woman told the newspaper. “That was what was humiliating about it.”

Per BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman, the terms of Kozinski’s resignation will allow him to receive about $220,000 annually for the rest of his life.