Monday, November 14, 2005

Free A3G!

A sad day in the Blawgispere. The marvelous Underneath Their Robes appears to have been "disappeared". (The last few weeks worth of posts are still up, for now, here.) The blog, pseudonymously written by "Article III Groupie"*, a very bright, well-credentialed young female attorney, who still harbors bitterness over not becoming a SCOTUS clerk, (or as she termed them, "The Elect"), provided a semi-serious, Tiger Beatish look at the federal judiciary, the latest round of Supreme Court Nominations, and the social lives of The Elect. One reviewer described the tone as that of "a boozy debutante", and though having not grown up in the South and thus not known any debutantes (though, I know too much about booze), that sounds about right.

Anyway, this past edition of The New Yorker outed A3G as a 30-year old Assistant U.S. Attorney from Joisey. A *gasp* male US attorney named David Lat. Predictably, fanboys everywhere went apeshit. Sadly, much of the commentary focused on the apparent creepiness of a male blogger calling such luminaries as Chief Justice Roberts and Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit as "Judicial Superhotties". Whatever guys, if, Dude Blogging Like a Lady was good enough for Shakespeare...(Though, to be fair, there may be something a little more insidious than simple homophobia going on here. Read this for an interesting take).

In a post later today (as mentioned above, still available from bloglines), A3G responded, somewhat cryptically, saying in part:
A few quibbles here (despite the meticulous fact-checking of the New Yorker's Tim Farrington, who even asked Lat to confirm whether his face can be fairly characterized as "boyish"). First, it's not entirely accurate to say that "A3G is... David Lat." Lat offers this explanation, which A3G reprints herein with his permission:

It's not fair to say that I "am" A3G. With apologies for this self-aggrandizing (but helpful) comparison, one would not say that Vladimir Nabokov "was" Humbert Humbert or that J.K. Rowling "is" Harry Potter. A3G is, like Chief Justice Roberts on the Supreme Court, "h[er] own [wo]man." Like Judge Posner's cat Dinah (also featured in the New Yorker -- with a picture), A3G is fiercely independent and answers to no one. In fact, when I have something to report to A3G, I email her about it -- just like any other reader of UTR.

My persistent denials of being A3G have been, in a technical and perhaps Clintonian sense, quite correct. My opinions and those of A3G are not exactly the same. In fact, some of the people that A3G has offered snarky commentary on are people for whom I harbor admiration, affection, or both. In short, A3G does as she pleases, and I cannot be blamed or held accountable for any of her misdeeds, indiscretions, or occasional vulgarity.

No, wait, that was Lat who said that. I'm as confused as you are...

Sadly, this unmasking was not without consequence. Somehow methinks that the powers that be at the Joisey branch of the DoJ were none too pleased with their doc review slave young associate dishing about the very judges they argued cases in front of. Could it possibly get back to them? (Well, considering that everyone short of CNN has now picked up the story, yes it might...) Whatever. Like judges know how to use the internet. Mine doesn't...(and if this blog is gone tommorow, you know why...)

There is also the matter of this shameless angling for a reality show appearance (from the New Yorker article)
Although he intended to remain anonymous, the success of the blog made coming clean irresistible. "I felt frustrated that I was putting a lot of time into this and was unable to get any credit for it," Lat said. "But eventually these things have a way of coming out anyway. I only hope that the judges I appear in front of don’t read it."
Calling all publishing houses?

In any event, at some point this evening, the music stopped, and A3G was left without a chair. After briefly displaying a message which reportedly read: "This Blog Has Been Taken Offline", the website is now password protected. One imagines FBI/Secret Service agents dismantling the A3G hard-drive piece by piece, searching for judicial porn...

Thankfully, this blatant act of artistc repression shall not stand. Led by SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito,** a grass-roots campaign to Free A3G has begun. I am a soldier in the army of the lord.

Whatever the outcome, A3G has already proven the naysayers wrong by lasting this long: a prediciton from a noted practictioner last June:
Just remember to enjoy it now, because the anonymous author has only ten or fifteen posts before he or she is declared an enemy combatant and hauled off to rot at Guantanamo Bay. Sounds harsh, but it just isn't right to tease federal judges. And I ought to know.

So, say it loud and say it proud:


Update via Legal Underground: UTR retrospective available at Blawg Review.

* For the non-LawDorks, Article III of the U.S. Constitution is the source of federak judicial power in our system.

** In the interest of not looking like a moron, this is no more Nominee Alito than that was Harriet Miers. Though apparently Sam wants more then mere amnesty. He demands an apology .

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