This article is a fairly detailed overview of the Kozinski porn story, written by Cynthia Cotts of Bloomberg News. And I am quoted in it. Cotts contacted me and asked if I would give her my opinion about some of the materials that are alleged to have been on Kozinski’s website. I got permission from various administrators ahead of time, since I would view the material on my law school computer, and then she sent me a number of files. She quotes me for the proposition that the materials are degrading, which indeed they are, especially towards women. What she only references obliquely in the article is the racial animus embedded in some of the video clips and photographs. If indeed he was storing this particular material for his own enjoyment, then Kozinski seems to particularly relish images that eroticize the degradation of Asians and Arabs.
Cotts didn’t contact me for her article because I am particularly important or high profile, and I will certainly admit to being neither. But I was one of a relatively small number of people who criticized Kozinski publicly when the story broke (which was how she found me, see this and this) and one of the few people willing to do so under my own name. Many people are fearful of Kozinski, because he is powerful and has a reputation for aggressively retaliating against anyone who crosses him. One of the first questions Cotts asked when she called me was whether or not I was tenured. I am, and I think it imposes duties as well as privileges on me, which include an obligation to challenge people like Kozinski when circumstances so warrant. Below is a short excerpt from the article, but please read it in its entirety here.
… Kozinski broke into a computer security system in 2001 and disabled porn-detecting software, Mecham wrote in 2007 to Judge Ralph K. Winter Jr., chairman of a federal judicial conduct panel.
Kozinski defended himself in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article, saying he aimed to protect judges’ privacy. Mecham denies targeting individuals.
Mecham said he discussed the matter with former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The chief justice concluded Kozinski probably committed a felony by tampering with government property, Mecham said in his letter to Winter.
The conduct committee didn’t investigate Mecham’s complaint because it wasn’t referred by the Ninth Circuit, Winter said in an interview. Rehnquist died in 2005. Kozinski wasn’t charged with a crime. …
For other coverage of the story by Bloomberg, start here. Chief Justice Roberts may have been sending a signal when he situated the Kozinski misconduct investigation in the Third Circuit, where the ACLU likes to litigate First Amendment cases, rather than in a circuit where the judges are generally more conservative. We shall see.