Judge resigning amid sex inquiry known for colorful opinions
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski, who resigned Monday amid a sexual misconduct inquiry, was known for his controversial remarks and colorfully written opinions from more than three decades serving on the bench. Here are some of his notable remarks:
After President Donald Trump lashed at the 9th Circuit when it upheld a lower court’s blocking of his travel ban, Kozinski told CBS News’ 60 Minutes that “when the president is a litigant I think it’s wise for him not to comment on the judges. It’s not going to help anything — and all it’s going to do is emphasize the weakness of your position.”
But Kozinski, disagreeing with fellow judges, said elected officials should not be held hostage to all of their campaign promises or statements “when in truth the poor shlub’s only intention is to get elected.”
“So, we want to be very careful to make sure that candidates for office are free to express their views so that people will make an informed choice. We don’t want them holding back, and sort of concealing their views and then disclosing them afterward,” he said in the same April 2017 interview.
In a 2014 dissent to a 9th Circuit decision declining to review a decision by a three-judge panel to put an execution on hold, he wrote that states should stop using lethal injections for people sentenced to death because the injections mask the brutality of the death penalty.
“Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all,” he wrote.
Kozinski’s opening passage of a 2002 opinion deciding that an unflattering song by a Danish band called “Barbie Girl” did not infringe on Barbie maker Mattel’s trademark: “If this were a sci-fi melodrama, it might be called Speech-Zilla meets Trademark Kong.”
The end of that opinion: “The parties are advised to chill.”