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Thread by @ZoeTillman: "Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct in the federal judiciary is underway. Sen. Grassley: "The judicial br […]" #s

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Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct in the federal judiciary is underway.

Sen. Grassley: "The judicial branch has a problem. They have to deal with it, or Congress will have to do it for the courts."
Earlier this month, the judiciary's workplace conduct working group released a series of recommendations for improving how the judiciary handles misconduct: uscourts.gov/news/2018/06/0… Grassley called it a "vague report" that "kicks the can down the road"
The judiciary has dealt with allegations of harassment and misconduct by judges before, but it was @mattzap's story on accusations against former 9th Circuit judge Alex Kozinski that spurred all of this. His original story: washingtonpost.com/world/national…
@mattzap Kozinski retired amid the allegations, which effectively ended the internal investigation into his actions buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/a-m…
@mattzap Grassley praises the former Kozinski clerks who came forward, including @courtneymilan. "Because of these women’s bravery, we can hopefully begin to make real significant changes to these powerful imbalances that allow harassment to thrive.”
@mattzap @courtneymilan Grassley's concerns w/ the judiciary's report incl. that it is too vague about the state of harassment in the judiciary, it doesn't have a time frame for action, it doesn't create a uniform complaint process, and it had no acknowledgement of what went wrong in Kozinski's case
@mattzap @courtneymilan Feinstein: “I’m really shocked to hear that we have to hold a hearing on harassment in the federal judiciary”
@mattzap @courtneymilan Witnesses testifying today are James Duff, director of the federal judiciary's admin arm, @Jaime_ASantos, and former EEOC chair Jenny Yang. No judges are testifying, but Duff notes Chief Judge Julie Robinson of the District of Kansas is here (member of judiciary working group)
@mattzap @courtneymilan @Jaime_ASantos Duff says the judiciary's process for filing misconduct complaints works when it is utilized, but acknowledges that it isn't used very often. Why? Lack of info, confusion, intimidation, he says. Says reports reccs will help address those issues
@mattzap @courtneymilan @Jaime_ASantos Duff: “I will apologize publicly to all victims in the workplace within the judiciary. I don’t know anybody in our branch who doesn’t feel the same way I do about it”
Now @Jaime_ASantos is up — she says the judiciary missed the opportunity to explore the extent of the problem, notes that the report is almost entirely forward-looking. Says employees won't feel comfortable coming forward if judiciary isn't willing to study what happened
@Jaime_ASantos Back to the judiciary hearing. Grassley asks Duff if Chief Justice John Roberts or his team or Duff knew about allegations against Kozinski, noting that reports indicate it was an "open secret." Duff said he did not, there was no complaint (he didn't say if Roberts knew anything)
@Jaime_ASantos Sen. Tillis asks why the judiciary opposes having an inspector general. This is something the judiciary has long been sensitive about. Duff says it's unnecessary, noting existing financial audits and misconduct reporting processes. Also it would be unconstitutional, Duff says
@Jaime_ASantos .@Jaime_ASantos pushes back against Duff's comments that people haven't come forward because they didn't know their options. Santos says she talked to women who tried to go to HR and were discouraged from pursuing a complaint
Harris asks Duff what the judiciary is doing to address reports that some men have said they'll avoid harassment claims by just not hiring women. Duff said he's aware of the issue, and they're paying attention to stats on clerk hiring and discouraging judges from doing that
Duff said the judiciary does track hiring, but did not have specific #s when Harris asked about gender stats. Duff said proportion of women serving as clerks is "healthy" and "good" and trending in the right direction
Harris asks about judges requiring clerks to sign confidentiality agreements. Duff said he doesn't know how many judges do that (Harris says he should find out) but the code of conduct makes clear that the confidentiality rules do allow clerks to report misconduct
Kennedy: "I think we’ve decided as a society and a culture that we do not want be a country of creepy old men —or creepy young men, for that matter"
Kennedy presses Duff to say how prevalent harassment is in the judiciary, asks him to put it on scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst/Harvey Weinstein. Duff says one instance is too much and says he can't really quantify it in the way Kennedy is asking
Cruz asks Duff if he's aware of any monetary settlements paid out using taxpayer money for harassment claims in the judiciary. Duff said he is not aware of any
.@Jaime_ASantos said she disagrees with judiciary working group's assessment that harassment/misconduct is not a pervasive problem in the judiciary — she said they don't know, they chose not to do a survey of past law clerks
Blumenthal suggests that the judiciary should keep jurisdiction over misconduct cases even after judges resign, and says discipline should be able to apply to post-resignation compensation — notes Kozinski is still drawing a salary
Duff said not aware of employment arrangements where people lose pensions b/c of misconduct. Notes that only judges who meet certain seniority requirements are eligible for post-resignation pay, so there have been judges who left who didn't get to keep their salary
Kennedy asks Santos if she's aware of federal judges currently sitting on the bench who have engaged in workplace sexual harassment. Santos says she is aware of judges where it is commonly known that they have engaged in misbehavior in the past several months (no names)
The hearing is over. I just asked Jaime Santos if she could share any details about what she just said about being aware of allegations of misbehavior by sitting federal judges, she declined to elaborate
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