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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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:

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.