"All rise! The female Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary are in the house! All persons having business before these bodacious babes of the bench are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the hotties are now sitting -- and the benches are now sizzling! Michael Newdow save the United States and this Honorable Court!"
After counting and recounting hundreds of votes, and with apologies for the delay, Article III Groupie proudly presents the female Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary! The twelve impressive women who were nominated as judicial hotties have been winnowed down to five champions, whom UTR crowns today as the female winners of the first annual SFJ competition. (Update: The prevailing males are available here.)
Before proceeding to the results, A3G has a few preliminary comments to offer. Voters were generally quite impressed with the great beauties that the federal bench has to offer. In fact, several UTR readers were downright surprised by the number of federal judicial hotties. But satisfaction with the slate of nominees was not universal. Some commentators felt that certain constituencies were slighted or overlooked, such as tax judges and North Carolina jurists. And some observers simply did not find the nominees all that hot (see, e.g., this post from the Legal Underground).
As a theoretical matter, one can certainly imagine hotter judges. For example, Judge Elena Lala of Romania is so hot that one of her admirers brings one lawsuit after another just so he can make it into her courtroom -- presumably in the hopes of someday getting underneath her robe. As for as A3G knows, none of the nominated federal judicial hotties have inspired such devotion from litigious lovebirds.
As a practical matter, however, it must be remembered that federal judges are not appointed based on their hotness, at least not exclusively (not even by President Clinton). Cf. Fili-BUSTED ("Obviously attractiveness cannot be the most important quality of the Judicial Diva.... After all, we're talking about Judicial Divas."). And with respect to the female hotties, one must also keep in mind the demographics of the federal bench, which is 80 percent male, and also, due to the record of professional achievement generally required for nomination, on the older side. Viewed in this light, the fact that UTR was able to come up with twelve female nominees, as well as eight supplemental female hotties, is by itself impressive.
Let us now turn our attention to the election returns. Voting for the female superhotties was definitely skewed towards the top, with the five biggest vote-getters receiving over 80 percent of the vote. Latina judges did very well, with Hispanic hotties taking three out of the top five spots. California judges also made a strong showing, taking four out of five places -- perhaps voter turnout was higher on the West Coast. (One has to wonder: Consistent with stereotypes, do West Coast lawyers care more about appearance than their East Coast counterparts?)
Listed below are the top five vote-getters among hot female judges, who now have the right to call themselves Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary. Furthermore, as first reported here by the ABA Journal, the Superhotties will be receiving official UTR T-shirts that will read: "Take Judicial Notice: I'm a Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary!" (A3G will be in touch with the winners to find out their desired T-shirt size.)
And the winners are:
5. The Hot. Irma E. Gonzalez (S.D. Cal.)
Judge Gonzalez, who received 7.0 percent of the vote, takes fifth place, receiving an honorable mention. Voters who have been lucky enough to see Judge Gonzalez face to face have nothing but praise for her attractiveness. In the words of one voter, "Having seen her in person, I must vote for Irma Gonzalez!"
Judge Gonzalez is also a favorite of UTR. In a piece about the SFJ contest that appeared in the July 16, 2004 edition of the Daily Journal (alas, subscription required), Judge Gonzalez had the following to say about the competition and her nomination:
I've gotten e-mails from friends all over the country. It came as a big surprise. I think it's funny. And I'm in good company. All those women are very handsome and very talented. . . . I think it was in jest. And some very flattering things are being said. We all take our jobs seriously and sometimes they can be isolating. As long as people understand it is in jest.
Article III Groupie is pleased to see that at least some judges -- such as Judge Gonzalez, Judge Goodwin (who said he was "honored to be on such an illustrious list"), and of course Judge Kozinski -- are accepting the SFJ contest in the spirit of good-natured fun with which it was offered. After all, few things are more sexy than a good sense of humor!
4. The Hot. Nora M. Manella (C.D. Cal.)
Judge Manella comes in fourth among the female hotties, receiving 9.6 percent of the vote. "It's gotta be Judge Nora Manella," according to one voter. "No contest. I almost feel bad for the other nominees. Almost."
UTR may love Judge Manella -- but the feeling, unfortunately, is not mutual. In the Daily Journal piece, Judge Manella declared that the SFJ competition "makes me reconsider my support of the First Amendment." Ouch! Judge Manella then observed, "It puts me in mind of my grandmother's favorite aphorism, 'fools' names and fools' faces are often found in public places.'"
Well, only a fool would dispute Judge Manella's beauty! UTR extends its congratulations to this distinguished jurist, even if she may not exactly want them...
3. The Hot. Lourdes G. Baird (C.D. Cal.)
Taking third place among the female hotties, with 14.0 percent of the ballots cast, Judge Baird assumes her rightful spot as a Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary. As one UTR reader wrote, "Juecita Baird is the hottest judge of all!"
Judge Baird was the beneficiary of a last minute surge in her support, with a slew of votes arriving within hours of the voting deadline. (Perhaps a former clerk organized a get-out-the-vote campaign?) Regardless of how she came by her electoral success, Judge Baird is a worthy winner. When that black robe hits the floor, Judge Baird gets jiggy with it, metamorphosing into the Dancing Queen of the Central District! "After watching Judge Baird let her hair down at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference," raved one voter, "I can state with confidence that she dances better in her 60's than most do in their 20's!"
2. The Hot. Kim McLane Wardlaw (9th Cir.)
"Va-va-voom!" Is that the sound of Judge Wardlaw's Jaguar? Actually, no -- it was what a UTR reader wrote when enthusiastically casting his vote for Judge Wardlaw. Rounding out the trio of West Coast Latinas in the top five female hotties, Judge Wardlaw comes in as the #2 female superhottie, earning 16.7 percent of the vote. As another UTR voter stated, "Being faithful to my Ninth Circuit roots (though I've met Judge Wood and agree with your assessment), I must cast my vote for Judge Wardlaw. That was a fun clerkship interview! :-)"
If you ever find yourself with some time on your hands and seeking a little amusement, go to the Greedy Clerks message board and run a search for "Wardlaw." You'll come across posts claiming that Judge Wardlaw is something of a Judicial Diva, as pointed out here, and you'll find messages asserting that a clerkship with Judge Wardlaw can be a less than delightful experience (see, e.g., here and here). (A3G takes no position on the accuracy of these posts, which she urges her readers to take with the proverbial grain of salt.) But even if Judge Wardlaw can be hard on her clerks, there's no disputing that she's easy on the eyes!
1. The Hot. Kimba M. Wood (S.D.N.Y.)
And now, UTR proudly presents the #1 female Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary: Judge Kimba M. Wood! Judge Wood prevails with a whopping 35.1 percent of the vote, receiving over twice the number of votes as Judge Wardlaw, her nearest competitor. And so, even though California judges took fifth through second place on the female side -- an impressive showing for the West Coast -- it appears that East Coast voters rallied around Judge Wood as their candidate.
Voters sang Judge Wood's praises without reservation. A clerk for another judge at 40 Foley Square confirmed that she "is indeed a lovely and brilliant woman" (as UTR originally noted here). Another clerk, who was fortunate enough to interview with Judge Wood, stated that she is a "total superhottie. I could barely concentrate! Maybe that is why she rejected me." Even the pseudo-scandals concerning Judge Wood's relationship with Frank Richardson and her withdrawn nomination for Attorney General did not hurt her; one voter commended Judge Wood for seeming "very real."
This voter for Judge Wood summed it up quite nicely: "If Kimba Wood is not the winner, there is surely no justice in law. While all of the nominees are, I'll concede, hot, she has so much foxiness it hurts." Or consider this less eloquent but more pithy commentary: "Kimba Wood. Kimba Wood. Kimba Wood. Wow. She is hot."
It should be noted that Judge Wood, like her fellow female superhotties, possesses other important qualities besides beauty. Judge Wood impresses the lawyers who appear before her not just with her dazzling appearance, but with her mastery of the law and the facts. In her profile in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary (again, subscription needed), lawyers praised her excellent courtroom demeanor, her thorough and extensive preparation, and her "first-rate intellect." (As one lawyer quipped, in praising Judge Wood's ability to see through specious arguments of counsel, "She doesn't need to eat the whole barrel to know it's not a pickle.")
Indeed, Judge Wood takes her work as a judge very seriously -- perhaps too seriously. As she opined in this interview, "Judges are not celebrities. They speak through their decisions."
Hmm -- methinks the hottie doth protest too much! It is ironic that Judge Wood, one of the few federal judges to appear in tabloid headlines and gossip columns, should fail to recognize federal judicial celebrity. Judge Wood is a brilliant woman, but Article III Groupie must submit a motion for reconsideration challenging her statement that judges are not celebrities. The premise of UTR, as one can glean from its mission statement, can be set forth as follows: "Federal judges are celebrities, of a sort, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is no inconsistency between being (1) a highly intelligent, hardworking, conscientious federal judge, and (2) an absolutely fabulous judicial celebrity!"
If you harbor any doubt on this score, you need look no further than the judicial hotties discussed above. As Judge Wood herself demonstrates, brains and beauty sometimes are found in each other's company. As Judge Gonzalez demonstrates, faithfully discharging one's judicial duties and having a sense of humor are not mutually exclusive. And so, along with her congratulations (as well as the forthcoming T-shirts), Article III Groupie offers this message to the female superhotties: "Don't hide your beauty; celebrate it! Don't deny your celebrity; revel in it! Girl, you're a Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary!"
Taking her hat off to the hotties,
P.S. Stay tuned: the male superhotties are not far behind. (For a definition of anticlimax, click here.)