Chief Justice Roberts says courts will review protections against sexual misconduct

Chief Justice Roberts says courts will review protections against sexual misconduct
© Greg Nash

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Sunday announced the rollout of new measures designed to protect law clerks and other court employees from sexual misconduct.

Roberts said the new initiative comes after U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski resigned after reports surfaced detailing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 wrote in a statement for the 2017 State of the Judiciary Report.

“The judiciary will begin 2018 by undertaking a careful evaluation of whether its standards of conduct and its procedures for investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee,” he continued.

James Duff, who oversees the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, sent a memo to federal courts detailing that Roberts had ordered him "to establish a working group to examine the sufficiency of safeguards currently in place ... to protect court employees, including law clerks, from wrongful conduct in the workplace," CNN reported earlier this month.

Roberts had also received a letter from almost 700 current and former law clerks urging action and asking that he mention the issue in his annual report about the state of the federal judiciary, The Washington Post reported.

“I have great confidence in the men and women who comprise our judiciary. I am sure that the overwhelming number have no tolerance for harassment and share the view that victims must have clear and immediate recourse to effective remedies,” the influential judge continued.

The procedures come as prominent men in various industries face allegations of sexual misconduct, casting a bright light on the issue of sexual harassment and prompting calls for Congress to crack down on the inappropriate behavior.