Federal law clerks demand changes to judiciary's sexual misconduct policies

Hundreds of current and former federal judicial clerks signed off on a letter sent Wednesday calling for changes to the federal judiciary system in order to better address possible sexual misconduct moving forward.

“We believe that significant changes are necessary to address the potential for harassment of employees who work in the federal court system, the confidentiality principles that apply to work in chambers, and the risk that these confidentiality provisions can be used to shield, if not enable, harassment,” the clerks wrote in the letter, obtained by HuffPost.

The letter was sent to Chief Justice John Roberts and other top judiciary officials. 

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The letter comes days after Alex Kozinski, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, resigned following sexual misconduct allegations from several women. Federal judges typically hold lifetime appointments. 

In the legislative branch, multiple lawmakers have resigned or announced their retirement after sexual misconduct allegations were made against them, including Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses Hispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Today On Rising: The media beclowns themselves on Baghdadi MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas).

The clerks on Wednesday asked the judges to revise the Law Clerk Handbook to provide guidance on handling sexual harassment. Currently, the handbook does not specify what constitutes misconduct or how to report it, they wrote.

They also asked for sexual harassment issues and confidentiality guidelines to be discussed during law clerk training, and for the judiciary to develop a confidential reporting system. 

“Many of us did not experience harassment during our time with the judiciary, but we all want to ensure that the appropriate procedures and policies are in place to address harassment within the federal judiciary system going forward,” the clerks wrote.