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Kozinski receives Witkin Medal for altering the state's 'legal landscape'

Alex Kozinski, a widely respected federal appeals court judge known both for his erudite legal articles and his humorous essays, received the State Bar’s Bernard Witkin Medal. Established in 1993, the medal recognizes “those legal giants among us who have altered the landscape of California jurisprudence.” It is conferred on people “who, through a career of extraordinary service, have made significant contributions to the quality of justice and legal scholarship in our state.” Kozinski, 57, received the medal at the bar’s Annual Meeting last month.

Alex Kozinski

Kozinski has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit since 1985. At the time President Reagan appointed him to what was then a new seat on the bench, he was the youngest federal appeals court judge in the country.

A graduate in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles and from UCLA’s law school, Kozinski began his career as a law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Kennedy. He then clerked for Chief Justice Warren Burger before beginning his own practice.

The judge is widely known for his well-reasoned, well-written and incisive legal judgments. His clear, scholarly and often humorous essays have appeared in numerous national publications, including Slate, The New Yorker, The New Republic and National Review and often focus on constitutional history and interpretation. He is a popular speaker on college campuses.

“Judge Kozinski’s lifelong commitment and outstanding contributions toward equality and justice for all, his dedication to his profession, his work for the protection of the public, as well as diversity and equality in the profession, and the preservation and improvement of our social and justice systems, is greatly admired and respected by all who know him,” said the medal proclamation.

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