"Mainly, he suggested I was horrifically unattractive," Warren testified. "He questioned whether my husband could ... be real given how unlikely it seemed to him that any man could ever be attracted to me. He speculated to me that if my husband in fact existed he was doubtless a ‘wimp’ or gay."
"On more than one occasion, the judge suggested with words and gestures that my husband did not likely have a penis, but that if he did, he certainly would not be able to sustain an erection while looking at me, making it clear that he did not believe my marriage had been consummated."
Warren, a Harvard Law graduate who now works in death penalty defense in North Carolina, said Reinhardt's offensive behavior intensified as he grew "visibly enraged" by #metoo allegations against his friend and fellow 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski.
"The allegations against Judge Kozinski lit a fire that consumed chambers," Warren told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property & the Internet. "The judge railed that he would never again hire female law clerks because ... women could not be trusted. He ruminated that judges were the real victims of these feminists."
"He explained to me that I had never been sexually harassed because no man has ever been sexually attracted to me."
Kozinski, a libertarian-leaning Ronald Reagan appointee, retired abruptly in 2017 after being hit with allegations from more than a dozen women--including former clerks--about actions that ranged from inappropriate touching to forcing them to watch pornography in his chambers. Kozinski apologized for making clerks "feel uncomfortable," but disputed some of their claims.
Warren said that after the federal courts set up an office to deal with harassment claims in late 2018, she reached out to a staffer there to find out if she could be assured of confidentiality. Warren said she never reported the harassment because she was dissatisfied with the lack of "meaningful guidance."
"I was devastated personally and I was angry. I felt like I had done everything I could to ask someone to tell me how I could report in the way that I felt safe .… Nobody could guarantee me that there was that option," she told lawmakers. "This system should make it easy for a law clerk in a moment of distress....This burden should not have been on me."
Lawmakers from both parties expressed deep dismay about Warren's account and vowed to police the moves the judiciary has made to address the problem of harassment by judges.
"It is deeply disturbing and shocking, the abuse that you were subjected to," Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) said.
"No matter where you work, everyone should feel comfortable in the workplace," said Rep. Martha Roby of Tennessee, the panel's ranking Republican. "We must ensure that these changes are working as intended.... I want to make sure that we get this right and that the judiciary gets it right."
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the chairman of the subcommittee, expressed alarm upon hearing that some mentors at law schools had told female students not to apply for clerkships with some judges.
"There's no way we would sit back and allow this phenomenon of women coming forward to report sexual harassment to end up reducing the number of women serving as law clerks. I want to assure you of that," Johnson said.
Two witnesses warned lawmakers that law schools may have hushed up reports about harassing behavior by judges out of fear of disrupting the informal "pipeline" that elite universities use to feed promising law students into clerkships that can lead to key jobs and to large bonuses at big law firms.
"Not only can law schools be part of the solution, but if they don’t reckon with this they can be part of the problem," said Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate editor and former 9th Circuit clerk who testified at the hearing.
Johnson complained publicly that the courts had declined to send any witness to testify on the issue.
"We invited a representative from the Judicial Conference to attend today's hearing and I'm disappointed that they chose not to be here," he said.
The director of the U.S. Courts' administrative office, James Duff, said in a letter that he was declining to appear because he believed he would be questioned about an ongoing ethics proceeding against a 10th Circuit judge that he could not comment on.
However, Duff's office said in a statement Thursday that they were startled by Warren's account and will continue with reforms to address the problem.
"No Judiciary employee should suffer the kind of harassment described by former law clerk Olivia Warren today," the statement said. "We are deeply concerned about the new information we have learned through Ms. Warren’s statement to the House Judiciary Subcommittee this morning, and we take her statement very seriously. We are committed to addressing this new information and continuing to refine our processes and procedures for protecting our employees and addressing misconduct."