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Judging character

Re “Naughty saucy dirty funny,” Opinion, June 29

Judge Alex Kozinski should have the freedom to laugh at what amuses him. The problem is something else: What it means for his ability to judge fairly.

In several decades of work on civil rights issues, I have often received mail containing images of ape-like black men with their arms around white women. Those who sent them had the freedom to do so, and doubtless some thought they were funny. But if one of them were a chief judge for a federal appellate court, I would have no confidence that the rights of black plaintiffs would be understood or fairly acted on by him.

I happen to be a Catholic with three daughters. The fact that Kozinski may find crude images of women and Catholic priests funny and worth saving on his computer makes me have the same concerns about his ability to understand and protect the rights of the nation’s female majority or of its largest church.

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Gary Orfield

Co-Director, Civil Rights

Project, UCLA

Los Angeles

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