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

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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:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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