WASHINGTON – After public allegations and news reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct within the federal judiciary, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein wrote to James Duff, the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC). They wrote seeking detailed information about these allegations, how the Judiciary has handled them, and what efforts are underway to ensure similar claims are handled appropriately in the future.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is completely unacceptable—anywhere, anytime. Sexual harassment by a federal judge is particularly appalling. Federal judges are entrusted with enormous power, and they should be held to the highest ethical standard. Lifetime tenure is not a free pass.” Grassley said. “I appreciate Director Jim Duff’s response to Senator Feinstein’s and my inquiry, as well as the Director’s commitment to immediately investigate and address this problem. We will continue working together to ensure that all Judiciary employees never have to face sexual harassment in the workplace again.”

In addition to answers on specific allegations and on the broader data about claims of inappropriate workplace conduct, Grassley obtained a commitment from the Director to report data specific to sexual harassment in discrete categories. Grassley, a long-time advocate for government transparency, has instructed staff to continue the ongoing dialogue with the Director to ensure that the appropriate policy updates are implemented to inform and protect victims of workplace harassment.

Should the AOUSC not return with satisfactory solutions, Grassley will consider moving forward with legislation to address the problem of harassment and misconduct within the federal judiciary.

The February 9 letter from Grassley and Feinstein to Duff can be found here.

The February 16 response letter from Duff can be found here.


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