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Alex Kozinski, the 9th Circuit chief judge overseeing the suspended federal obscenity case against adult filmmaker Ira Isaacs, has decided to call upon the circuit to launch an investigation of his postings of sexually explicit material on a personal website.
In a very unusual step, Kozinski put out this statement:
I have asked the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit to take steps pursuant to Rule 26, of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability, and to initiate proceedings concerning the article that appeared in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times. I will cooperate fully in any investigation.
A laudable move, perhaps.
Meanwhile, those hungry for the hide of the respected judge have turned some attention to the other illicit material on Kozinski’s site. Apparently, he uploaded some copyrighted music there, including more than a dozen MP3s by artists included Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Weird Al Yankovic. The reason why this is getting so much attention is that Judge Kozinski wrote a dissenting opinion in the Perfect 10 case where he took a very hard line on federal copyright law giving copyright owners the exclusive right to distribute their works.
All of this reminds us of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about the emperor whose nakedness was only revealed after a boy cried out the obviousness. Yes, even those who wear black robes are human. But what about the observer who cried foul? Everybody is laughing at Kozinski now, but the observer who pointed out the judge’s lack of moral exceptionalism gets a bit of focus too. Turns out that Kozinski’s whistle-blower is a Beverly Hills attorney with a long-standing beef with the judge.
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