Politics 1 October 2018 | 12:04

Kavanaugh's Kozinski lie

01 October 2018 12:04

Only those brought up on a diet of Suits would expect a law firm to brim with a bevvy of clerks as picture-perfect. Unless you’d entered the office of one Brett Kavanaugh, that is, whom it has now been revealed had an uncanny knack for hiring only the young legal eagles as pulchritudinous as they were brainy.

With one exception – one Clayton Kozinski, a student who fell short of the physical criteria and Yale Law Journal pedigree, but who also happened to be the son of Alex Kozinski, one of Kavanaugh’s closer friends and mentors. And, as former chief judge of the ninth circuit court of appeals, the first grandstander of the judiciary to step down following six significant sexual harassment accusations stretching over a 10-year-period – someone whose doings Kavanaugh would have been hard pressed to ignore.

Whether Kavanaugh was telling the truth in his testimony about the sexual assault accusations Dr Christine Blasey Ford has made against him remains the subject of a crucial FBI investigation this week. But the matter of Kozinski’s doings – and Kavanaugh’s purported ignorance of them – has suggested that Kavanaugh may indeed have lied under oath.

During his tenure, Kozinski’s behaviour was apparently common knowledge among legal professionals who encountered him. It included blatant viewing of pornography at work (even going as far as to sabotage a band width placed on the office internet connection to access) and kissing the clerks who came to toil for him, with one of Kavanaugh’s ambitious rivals even inexplicably terminating a clerkship in Kozinski’s office early, plausibly on account of his boss’s conduct. Writing in the LA Times last week, UCLA law professor and former clerk Laura Gomez suggested she did not believe Kavanaugh about Dr Christine Blasey Ford precisely because of his claim he knew nothing of Kozinski – and just how unviable that would be.

She has more than a point. It seems risible at best, contemptible at worst, that among professionals whose acumen is based on the ability to pick out detail that others have attempted to shade, and between men whose social and professional lives were so entwined, Kavanaugh did not clock Kozinski, especially when the details of his highly unprofessional conduct were so very well known.

Meanwhile, conspiratorial theories that Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is part of a financed Democrat coup run alongside the more plausible suggestion that the White House is over-involved in a very narrow FBI investigation, with Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway telling CNN that it was ‘limited in scope’, and was ‘not meant to be a fishing expedition’,while sources from Washington stress that there is some serious micromanagement going on.

Unless new witnesses willing to testify can be found, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that this week’s FBI investigation will provide evidence enough to sway Jeff Flake, the Republican senator currently wavering over whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Bench.

But when it comes to the impending Senate vote, the Kozinksi case could be vital in persuading politicians that Kavanaugh’s awareness, judgment, and his inability to discern the doings of those around him renders him unfit for the Supreme Court.