R. J. Comer writes: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has admitted to posting sexually explicit material on a publicly accessible personal Web site while presiding over the obscenity trial of Ira Isaacs. Judge Kozinski's taste in porn is, I believe, well outside the category of obscene, so it baffles me what all the hullabaloo is about.
Judge Kozinski has recused himself from the case. The standard for recusal (see U.S.C. Title 28, Part 1, Ch. 21, Sec. 455(a)) is whether a reasonable person would consider the judge's connection to the issues or the parties so close as to impugn the judge's ability to be fair and impartial. So who may be a judge in an obscenity case? Would a judge who has no porn stowed away in a drawer or an electronic file be fair and impartial in an obscenity trial? I don't think so.