Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Really? No, I mean, really?

File this one under "really bizarre."

I don't know how to start this one, so I'll just quote the LA Times.
One of the highest-ranking federal judges in the United States, who is currently presiding over an obscenity trial in Los Angeles, has maintained his own publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos.

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as "funny."
I know, right? Alex Kozinski. The same judge who is occasionally mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Really very bizarre. Frankly, though, what he does on his own time is his own business. I don't think arguing that some of the stuff is "funny" is a good course of action, but I don't think that dragging him from pillory to post is a good idea, either.

A lapse in judgment is just that. I think judges should be held to a higher standard, but I know judges are people, too. Frankly, given some of the other "scandals" that have beset one or the other Constitutional branches of government over the last couple of years, this is pretty tame. (Though I never saw the pictures in question.) It's still a surreal thing to read. In fact, I am most reminded of the time David Souter got mugged.

Maybe Judge Kozinski should consider a brief leave of absence while this blows over. He could write a book or, I don't know, review the blogs of law students who didn't shout Crucifige eum!

I'll be free in three years.


At 10:17 AM, Blogger Terry said...

Judge Kozinski is a force of nature. He's one of only a few people I know of willing to bellow "Federalist!?" across the great hall in the Mayflower.

Considering my occupation, he's one of the few people that make it worth while.

I he should just recuse himself. A leave of absence seems like a bit much, for such a simple incident.

Amusing...we both blogged about this issue, without recourse to the other.

I've switched blogs, fyi.

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

You know how much the media will make of this. It will be like Bill Bennett got dinged for gambling excessively. Now, Kozinski doesn't seem as concerned with morality as, say, Scalia (Viz. his opinion in Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558, 590), but he's a conservative jurist. Most media types and Congressfolk will stop reading at "conservative" and, if this story gets around enough, use it as a rallying cry. You know how this works. Some folks love to play "Gotcha!" and nothing works better than S-E-X.

Now, what does a smart man like Kozinski do? Well, this will damage his reputation, so he should go write a book proving that he is the smartest guy not on the Court, so who gives a tin-plated fig for what he finds funny?

As to recusal, why? He's serving as a trial court judge. He'll have to recuse himself on appeal anyway, which means his opinion will be subject to at least another three sets of eyes. Surely they can detect some sort of bias. I mean, it's the Ninth Circuit, but - Reinhardt aside - they're all reasonable. Reinhardt included if he wants to give me a clerkship in three years.

No. Leave of absence lets him rebuild his reputation. We need Alex shining like Gottfried von Brabant, otherwise the appellate judiciary becomes dreary (-ier) again.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Terry said...

You are the future jurist here. I'm the fly-by-night theologian/critic. I'll leave it to your analysis.

You'll have to meet this guy someday. He's very amusing.

Will you be joining my little group?

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Indeed, he's one of the few larger-than-life judges with whom I could imagine sharing a beer and having the experience be fun.

Your little group?

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Terry said...

According to Drudge, my prediction proved correct.

Let's see if he follows yours.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Terry said...

My work place...that little group.

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