It's never a good time for a judge to have his large, slightly kinky and, for a time, publicly available collection of sexually explicit material written up in the LA Times.It was an even worse time for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit when the LA Times ran a story detailing the extensive collection of suggestive or explicit images and videos on the judge's personal server.Holding a candidate’s statements against him, he wrote: “will chill campaign speech.”Alex Kozinski: Candidates will promise the sun and the moon. Alex Kozinski: Well, you’ve read the “Prince.” Machiavelli said it is the duty of a prince to lie. Alex Kozinski: I think in certain circumstances, that’s probably right. Judge Kozinski has spent over three decades on this bench at the 9th Circuit. Alex Kozinski: As we were leaving Romania, we’re on the train, I still remember having these thoughts and plans about how I was going to start a Workers’ Revolution in the West. Everybody understands that you’re not going to get the sun and they moon. Alex Kozinski: I think the use of lethal injection is the way of lying to ourselves, to make it look like executions are peaceful, are benign, are sort of like going to sleep, and they’re not. In his ruling on thousands of cases, there’s one constant: a deep-rooted distrust of authority which, like his thick accent, is a product of his childhood. And then we got to Vienna, and I discovered chocolate, and bubble gum, and bananas! By the time he and his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was 17, he was all-American with a streak of flamboyance -- as when he made his TV debut on the “Dating Game” – up against Squiggy of “Laverne and Shirley.” Announcer: And we’ll try it with bachelor #1 first. The whole thing was really just an embarassing personal slip-up, albeit one that came at an inopportune moment.
I mean, this is a Chief Judge who went on the Dating Game in his youth, fought back against a plan to block pornography from judges' computers, and has a collection of racy pictures and movies dating back to 1995. While the court found that Kozinski's lack of oversight concerning the public availability of the images was less than comendable, it thought that a quick admonishment and a little public humiliation would teach the Chief Judge a valuable lesson, and so it didn't recommend any further punishment.Here's what the court had to say: We find that the Judge's possession of sexually explicit offensive material combined with his carelessness in failing to safeguard his sphere of privacy was judicially imprudent.Lesley Stahl: Let’s say, hypothetically, that President Trump decided to single you out, how would you handle it? Judge Alex Kozinski, one of the country’s most influential conservative federal judges, has some advice for the president.Alex Kozinski: Well, so long as he spells my name right, it’s OK. Alex Kozinski: My advice would be to whoever is going after judges by name, whether it’s the president or anybody else, I think it’s a terrible idea. Lesley Stahl: Is there an etiquette that this isn’t done? He feels the same way about politics, calling on his fellow federal judges to take President Trump’s criticisms in stride.
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No one ever alleged that Kozinski broke the law, and any questions about impartiality in the obscenity case disappeared after he disqualified himself from hearing it.