Kavanaugh Denies Knowledge of Alleged Sexual Misconduct by Former Boss

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee maintained a close professional relationship with ex-judge Alex Kozinski.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears with former 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski on a legal panel.The Federalist Society/YouTube

Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, denied any knowledge on Wednesday of alleged repeated sexual misconduct by a former judge with whom he maintained a close professional relationship.

Kavanaugh once clerked for Alex Kozinski, a former judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who retired in December amid a flurry of serious sexual misconduct complaints from women who worked with him over several decades. Kavanaugh also worked with Kozinski to vet clerks for Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat Kavanaugh is seeking to fill. That relationship came up on the second day of his Senate confirmation hearing, raised not by Democrats, but by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). 

Hatch suggested that Kavanaugh was being smeared with guilt by association for his long relationship with Kozinski. He asked Kavanaugh whether he was on the “gag list,” an email list to which Kozinski circulated raunchy jokes. The nominee said he didn’t think that he was, and he denied that he knew about the conduct leading to Kozinski’s retirement last year. He said that when he first heard about it from news reports, “It was a gut punch.” Kavanaugh added, “No woman should be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the judiciary.” He praised Chief Justice John Roberts’s task force looking at workplace conduct issues in the judiciary. He also praised the move by Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, where Kavanaugh currently serves, to implement better procedures on his own court for reporting sexual harassment complaints. 

Watch the entire exchange here:

 

Listen to reporter Stephanie Mencimer discuss the chaos surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate