U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in an annual report, called for an aggressive evaluation of how judicial branch handles allegations of sexual harassment.
In the report, “The State of the Judiciary,” Justice Roberts said that recent events “have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace” and made clear that the “judicial branch is not immune”
The Chief Justice comment comes in the wake of published reports of Judge Alex Kozinski of San Francisco U.S. Court of Appeals that he would retire this month.
Judge Kozinski provided no reason for his retirement, but the Washington Post detailed accusations of sexual misconduct from several former clerks and former junior staffer.
According to the Washington Post, one former staffer in particular, said the judge made her look at pornographic images and asked whether they sexually aroused her.
Judge Kozinski did not deny the allegation, but apologized for his action in a written statement released by his attorney. He defended his action, saying “it was a broad sense of humor.”
“I have always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks,”Judge Kolinsky wrote
“In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent,” he added.
Chief Justice Roberts, who also heads the Judiciary Conference, the national policy-making body of the federal courts, said he was asked by the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to assemble a working group to examine whether changes are needed in the judiciary’s “standards of conduct,”
By J. Zamgba Browne