Washington— A former law clerk, Olivia Warren, appeared before Congress Thursday to affirm that she had actually been sexually bothered by a federal judge on the 9th Circuit, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, in 2017 and 2018.
” Mainly, he recommended I was horrifically unattractive. He questioned whether my hubby could be genuine, offered how not likely it appeared to him that any man could ever be brought in to me. He hypothesized that if my spouse in truth existed he was doubtless a ‘wimp’ or gay,” she affirmed.
” He told me that women were liars who could not be trusted, and he speculated the accusations of sexual harassment that came out versus individuals like Louis C. K. and Harvey Weinstein were made by ladies who had at first ‘wanted it’ and then changed their minds.”
According to her written statement, when she tried to report the misbehavior to the Office of Judicial Stability, she stated she faced “systemic barriers to reporting harassment and misconduct by judges that are distinct to the legal profession.” Warren alleged that Reinhardt kept a rack with photos of “female ‘pretty’ clerks” and regularly made disparaging declarations about her physical look.
In her declaration, Warren stated she didn’t plan “to destroy Judge Reinhardt’s legacy, to erase his substantial contributions to the law, or to condemn him.”
However under current law, employees of the federal judiciary system are not protected from unwanted sexual advances normally afforded by Title VII of the Civil Liberty Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Warren and fellow witnesses made a plea for a cultural modification in the federal judiciary system and required more securities to be put in place.
Reinhardt, considered a liberal lion of the court, died in 2018 and was a coworker of Judge Alex Kozinski who retired from the bench in 2017 after more than a lots females alleged he had subjected them to improper sexual content.
After the accusations against Kozinski, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts utilized his 2017 yearly report to require an assessment of sexual misbehavior policies in the federal judiciary and created a task force to further examine the problem. The Judicial Conference approved new policies in March 2019 that need judges and judiciary staff members to report misbehavior.
Deeva Shah, the founder of Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability, required additional action from Congress to make sure that “there are clear reporting treatments and there are clear guidelines for what type of conduct is covered.”
” As long as members of the judiciary continue to think that these concerns are non-existent or separated, then these changes will not take place on a more comprehensive scale,” Shah said.
Shah said that some trainees, who are not as well-connected to “whisper networks” that exist amongst specific groups of law students, have no knowledge or alerting about the possibility of inappropriate habits by some federal judges and may then be most likely to accept clerkships with them.
Dahlia Lithwick, a senior legal reporter at Slate, and Chai R. Feldblum, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, argued that the culture of power imbalances begins at the law schools, noting that there are committees at law schools that assist law students get clerkships. They recommended such committees should also offer law clerks with the opportunity to report harassment events.
” So, not just can law schools become part of the option however if they do not reckon with this, they can be part of the problem,” said Lithwick.