Judge Kosinski Retires

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* A clerkship with Judge Kozinski is really hard to get, but it is a serious boost to people who want to go on to clerk for the Supreme Court. He really did have an “in” with Kennedy and O’Connor. Of course, he also only hires people who are plausible selections, but with only 37 slots in a year, there are far more plausible candidates than available positions, so he very much does give people a serious advantage. Or did, rather. The pool of candidates for a Kozinski clerkship are the top 3-5 people at maybe ten law schools, and the top 1 person at maybe ten more.

But the down-side is that he really is a slave-driver in terms of work. The clerks claim the hours are something like 10 AM to 6 PM, a two hour break for dinner, and then 8 to 1 AM. Weekend hours were closer to noon to 8. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one — he really does demand a lot. One former Kozinski clerk who went on to be a BigLaw partner told me that he worked harder during his clerkship than as an associate at a big firm.

A lot of working for Kozinski is doing tasks not strictly necessary for the judge to decide cases and write good opinions. A lot of it is make-work — forcing his clerks to do things that don’t add much to the decision process. And to fulfill odd requests, like driving to his home to deliver his favorite stapler at 11 at night. And also they spend a lot of time BSing about about things, going out drinking together, and doing things like snowboarding trips. If he just had his clerks do work that was useful in deciding cases and sent them home when those tasks were done, they would work half days.

Also, he’s a yeller. If you make a typo or grammatical error or miss a case he yells and screams. He’s actually a lot like Steve Jobs in that sense — he gives intermittent reinforcement, yelling and screaming one minute and hugging and kissing the next.

Most of the people who graduate at the very top of a very good law school tend to be both very smart and also psychologically pretty durable. They don’t mind being abused and tend not to get overly upset about things. I think Heidi is probably a bit unusual inasmuch as she is both very high IQ and also less psychologically robust than his average clerk. So the weird naked pics upset her a lot, while a lot of steely-eyed lawyer babes who work for him would have just laughed it off. Or called him a pervert — which would have made him laugh.

To those who say that Kozinski shouldn’t have retired, here’s something worth thinking about. Kozinski spent a lot of time socializing with his clerks — they went out together, partied, played poker, went snowboarding, etc. He likes having ambitious high-IQ people as his semi-vassals. Some poeple enjoyed their clerkships with him, but a lot put up with the demands because of the benefits (including an edge at the Supreme Court).

He’s actually a bit less of a “feeder” now than he was before — Kennedy (for whom he clerked) was his biggest contact, but he also fed a lot to O’Connor. (I think Heidi was technically an O’Connor clerk, but she got loaned out to Kennedy when he was first on the Court.) Kennedy is very sensitive to elite opinion, and the other Justices have some sensitivity as well. If Kozinski had weathered the storm, I strongly suspect that he would have dried up as a feeder judge — and this would have led to him having weaker applicants, which he wouldn’t appreciate.

Since shooting the breeze with the super-elite clerks who were likely to go on to a Supreme Court clerkship was a big part of the fun for him, I think he knew that being an appellate judge was going to be a lot less interesting going forward, even if he weathered the storm. Plus, he isn’t taking Senior Status — he’s retiring. Which means that he gets his full pay AND he can supplement his income with consulting/advocacy work.

* Kozinski would seem to be roughly in the top 1000 most talented men in America. I’m open to arguments that he only makes the top 10,000 or he’s in the top 100, but he would seem to be in the top 25 or so in the law, and the law has always been a really big deal in the U.S.

* One of the problems with fatties like Bond is that they turn to food for comfort so when she became anxious that Kozinski was NOT looking at her in “that way”, she got fatter and even less attractive which only caused Kozinski to ignore her feminine charms even more. In her mind’s eye, she sees herself as the irresistible bodice rippee of her novels, while in reality, men see a fattie whose bodice they are not eager to rip at all.

The REAL problem with when the Judge showed her “porn” (not actual porn – just a picture where people were sitting naked on a sofa amid others who were clothed, not engaged in any sex act) is that the Judge did NOT consider her to be a sex object. If she had been thin and attractive, he wouldn’t have done it. Fat people (esp. women) are often invisible to people of the opposite sex – he was treating her as “one of the guys” because he would no more mate with her than he would with an actual guy or a cow. This must have been very painful to Bond who like any fat person has the same inner desires as anyone else. Even if she did not want to have an actual sexual relationship with the judge, she wanted to be seen as ELIGIBLE to have one and not some repulsive creature that could never have made the list that the judge kept.

* Contrary to what you might think, successful romance writers are not messed-up women. They are hardnosed careerists who quite cynically write to market. They don’t write novels, they produce product, and they will mock your artistic pretensions while laughing all the way to the bank. They are completely unromantic, but they know how to manipulate the tropes of romance like an expert.

Don’t kid yourselves about these women. They are businesswomen first, writers second. Heidi Bond is not some random romance writer. She’s a bestselling author in the field.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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