The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee want information from the office overseeing the federal judiciary about how it handles claims of sexual misconduct from within the federal courts.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a letter Friday to James Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, seeking information about sexual assault and harassment within the federal judiciary.
The two Judiciary Committee leaders said they are “deeply troubled” by recent allegations of sexual misconduct from federal judges, as well as a CNN investigation that found a small fraction of the 1,303 misconduct complaints filed in 2016 were fully investigated.
Grassley and Feinstein specifically cited the allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who retired in December after more than a dozen women accused him of behaving inappropriately.
After allegations about Kozinski’s misconduct came to light, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts called on Duff to form a working group to examine the safeguards in place to protect court employees from inappropriate behavior.
Duff has until May 1 to make recommendations to the chief justice.
“Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune,” Roberts said in his 2017 State of the Judiciary report.
Grassley and Feinstein said in their letter Judiciary Committee staff have begun investigating sexual misconduct in the federal judiciary and want to know whether the working group established by Duff will seek input from former and current law clerks, as well as federal court employees.
They’re also interested in learning about the current policies in place for sexual harassment training, as well as the number of sexual harassment or misconduct complaints filed annually, and how those complaints are investigated.