Alex Kozinski (born July 23, 1950), a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was born 1950 in Bucharest, Romania. His parents, both Holocaust survivors, brought him to America in 1962 when he was 12. and settled in Los Angeles. Judge Kozinski's father, Moses, ran a small grocery store there.
Judge Kozinski earned his A.B. in economics and J.D. from UCLA; he clerked for then-Ninth Circuit Judge, now Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice Warren Burger. Judge Kozinski spent 1977 to 1981 in private practice. In 1981, he went to serve as a counsel in the White House under President Ronald Reagan.
In 1982, Kozinski was appointed chief judge at U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In 1985, at age 35, he was appointed to the Ninth Circuit by President Reagan. At the time, Judge Kozinski was the youngest federal appeals court judge in the United States.
Judge Kozinski has won admirers across the political spectrum who praise his intellect, common sense decisions, and libertarian instincts. He has the reputation as an active and sometimes intimidating questioner during oral argument.
Judge Kozinski has authored numerous opinions on the Ninth Circuit. One of particular interest to readers of this blog is his concurrence in Rodriguez-Roman v. INS, 98 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 1996), an asylum case in which the applicant had fled Cuba. in the concurrence, Judge Kozinski discusses the persecution at the hands of communist regimes, something that his family experienced first-hand in Romania.
interestingly, Judge Kozinski, known as a conservative with a libertarian bent, is friends with arch-liberal U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt. To listen to Judges Reinhardt and Kozinski discuss judicial activism and related issues, click here.
As an essayist, Judge Kozinski's writing is clear and often humorous, and has been featured in mainstream publications such as Slate, The New Yorker, The New Republic and National Review.
Judge Kozinski Trivia: As a younger man, Kozinski appeared on the popular television show The Dating Game and won a date. His opening greeting: "Good afternoon, flower of my heart." In 2004, Judge Kozinski was elected the "Number 1 Male Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary" by a vote on the blog "Underneath Their Robes."