The (alleged) cruelty of Judge Stephen Reinhardt

I want to follow up on Steve’s report about alleged sexual harassment by the left-liberal hero, Judge Stephen Reinhardt. You can watch the testimony of Olivia Warren, Reinhardt’s alleged victim, below.

As a lawyer, I litigated more than a few sexual harassment cases. I also contributed a chapter to an early case book on the subject. Thus, I have read the factual allegations in many hundreds of sexual harassment cases (though few, if any, from the past 15 years).

In my opinion, the allegations by Olivia Warren are at the high end of severity when it comes to purely verbal harassment. Indeed, I regard her allegations as more severe than some cases that involved sexual touching. (This assessment is subjective, of course.)

What’s striking about Reinhardt’s behavior (assuming it was as Warren describes it) is the predominance of the cruelty element. It’s difficult to understand what pleasure Reinhardt could have derived from his conduct towards Warren other than enjoying her suffering.

There are various sources of potential pleasure in sexual harassment. If actual sex occurs, that’s one source. The ability to exert power over someone is another obvious one.

Cruelty is sometimes in the picture too. Reinhardt’s alleged harassment is far from unique in that respect.

But his alleged cruelty stands out. It’s cruel persistently to talk about sex or physical appearance when doing so makes the other person uncomfortable. But it’s exceptionally cruel constantly to insult someone about sex and physical appearance, as Reinhardt is said to have done.

I didn’t see much of that in reported sexual harassment cases, though it wasn’t unheard of.

I don’t minimize the severity of groping or talking excessively about sex, but I can fathom this behavior. I can’t fathom how anyone would tell a woman that he considers her too ugly to have sexual relations with her husband (or, indeed, to be married at all).

If Warren’s allegations are true, Judge Reinhardt was an awful human being. The early feminists had a word for men like this — pig.

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