Whither Judge Kozinski’s Opinions?

I’m going on vacation tomorrow, so this will probably be my last post until 2018. With Judge Koziniski’s retirement today. I’m wondering how people feel about using his opinions in class. When I teach IP, I typically include a couple of his decisions in the syllabus. Should I not do that now that he’s resigned in disgrace? My inclination is not to make a change. The arguments in the cases can be evaluated independently. Judge Koziniski is not Judge Manton, who served on the Second Circuit decades ago and was later convicted of taking bribes. (Though Legal Realists at Yale used to use his opinions in those bribery cases as fodder for discussion.) Still, can I find other circuit opinions that can substitute for Judge Koziniski’s?  Sure I can–he wasn’t a Supreme Court Justice. And maybe, eventually, I will.

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6 Responses

  1. Sartre says:

    If it’s OK not to teach Heidegger in philosophy class because he was a literal nazi, I think it’s OK not to teach Kozinkski in Law class because he was basically a nazi to women.

  2. Henry says:

    Who said that it’s OK not to teach Heidegger anymore? Have professors of 20th-century continental philosophy stopped teaching him? I’d think that teaching him and discussing the extent to which his ideas reflected his Nazi beliefs might be of value. Furthermore, Heidegger was the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice in being at the top of his profession (whatever one thinks of his philosophy), and Gerard implies that we should not stop teaching Supreme Court opinions because of the conduct of the justices who wrote them. If we did, then there goes Marbury v. Madison, written by a slaveholder.

    But let’s assume for the sake of argument that we should not teach Heidegger because he was a literal Nazi. Commenter Sartre finds Kozinski “basically” a Nazi to women, with “basically” apparently meaning “figuratively.” But what is a figurative Nazi? I suppose that it is one who is not a Nazi but who engages in conduct as evil as the Nazis’. But I believe that the Nazis did more than show pornography to young women and make inappropriate remarks to them that degraded and understandably severely upset them. Therefore, one need not minimize the evil of Kozinski’s conduct (and his claim that he did not intend to upset anyone, if true, speaks to his lack of both sensitivity to others and self-knowledge) to believe that comparing him to a Nazi is idiotic.

  3. Henry says:

    I can think of no reason even to consider not using Kozinski’s opinions in the syllabus. It reminds me of when the Israelis banned Wagner’s music. I realize that the two may be distinguished in that other judges’ opinions might adequately substitute for Kozinski’s for teaching purposes, whereas Wagner’s music is unique. But that argument begs the question of why one should want to substitute other judges’ opinions for Kozinski’s. Must we investigate the lives of all judges’ whose opinions we cite?

  4. Brett Bellmore says:

    Was there something wrong with the opinions? If so, why were they being used?

    If no, why shouldn’t they be used?

  5. Joseph Stalin says:

    We must eliminate the work products of counter-revolutionaries from the books of history!

  6. MJ says:

    Teach his cases and use it as a lesson as to what can happen. Maybe highlighting his fall from grace can help protect women the next time a powerful man thinks about doing such things and reconsiders.

    What do you gain by sweeping him to the dustbin of history?

    PS Maybe we should stop teaching Justice Holmes because of some of his disgusting views or stop teaching any decisions by the judges who signed onto Korematsu or any of the other wrong/disgusting decisions that history has judged and found wanting and immoral