Washington – Former law clerk, Olivia Warren appeared in Congress on Thursday, testifying that she was sexually assaulted by a federal judge in the 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhart on May 28 and 2018.
“Basically, she suggested that I was terribly obnoxious. She questioned whether my husband could be true, since he seemed less likely to be attracted to me by any man. He guessed that if my husband were in reality. He must have been suspicious of ‘.wimp’ or gay, “he testified.
“He told me that women were liars who couldn’t be trusted, and that sexual harassment allegations against people like Louis CK and Harvey Weinstein were first made by women who ‘wanted it’ and then changed their minds.”
According to his written testimony, when he tried to report the misconduct to the Judicial Recognition Office, He said he was “unique to lawyers and has faced procedural barriers regarding allegations and reports of abuse by judges.” Warren alleged that Reinhardt kept photos of “female ‘gorgeous’ clerks” and often made controversial statements about his physical appearance.
In his statement, Warren said he did not intend to “destroy Judge Reinhart’s legacy, erase his significant contribution to the law, or condemn him.”
However, under current law, employees of the federal judiciary are generally not protected from sexual harassment – the seventh title of the Civil Rights Act of 1919, the age discrimination for employment of 6767, or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Warren and co-witnesses filed an application for cultural change in the federal judiciary and requested further protection.
Reinhardt, considered the court’s generous lion, died in 2018 and was a colleague of Judge Alex Kozinski, who retired from the bench in 2017. He accused more than a dozen women that he had sexually abused them inappropriate sexual content.
Following the indictment against Kozinski, Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court created a taskforce to summon his 20-year annual report to the federal judiciary to evaluate sexual misconduct policies and further examine the problem. The Judicial Conference approved new policies in March 2019 requiring judges and judicial staff to report abuse.
Deva Shah, the founder of the Law Clerk for Workplace Accountability, called on Congress to take further action, saying that “there are clear reporting procedures and clear guidelines on what kind of behavior is covered.”
“As long as members of the judiciary believe that these things are non-existent or isolated, these changes will not occur on a wider scale,” Shah said.
Shah said that some students, who are not well-connected with the “whiskey network” existing in some groups of law students, have no knowledge or warning about the possibility of inappropriate behavior by some federal judges, and may be more likely to accept imprisonment.
Dahlia Lithwick, a senior lawyer at Slate, and Chai Fadeblum, a partner at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, argued that the culture of power imbalance began in law, noting that there are committees at law centers that help law students. The clerk suggested that these national committees should also be given the opportunity to report the harassment of legal clerks.
“So, law schools may not only be part of the solution but they can be part of the problem if they do not consider this,” Leithwick said.