Chief Justice speaks to sexual harassment in the judiciary

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve Year-End Report [PDF] on December 31. Although most of his words dealt with the judicial branch's response to natural disasters, a significant portion addressed sexual harassment in the workplace. He calls this [sigh] "a new challenge." Of course, it is not a new challenge, but it especially came to the Chief Justice's attention when prominent 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kosinki retired early in the face of credible allegation of harassing law clerks.

Here is what the Chief Justice said:

"We have a new challenge in the coming year. 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. 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.

"I have asked the Director of the Administrative Office to assemble a working group to examine our practices and address these issues. I expect the working group to consider whether changes are needed in our codes of conduct, our guidance to employees—including law clerks—on issues of confidentiality and reporting of instances of misconduct, our educational programs, and our rules for investigating and processing misconduct complaints. These concerns warrant serious attention from all quarters of the judicial branch. 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."