Recently Article III Groupie received the following e-mail from a reader:
You tend to write about the same small group of judges over, and over, and over. How about casting your net a bit wider? There are so many judges about whom I'd like to learn. Mad props otherwise, Devoted Fan
Now, in A3G's defense, Devoted Fan's observation is not completely accurate. Several of the judges that A3G has written about this month--such as Judge Sotomayor, Judge Preska, Judge Dlott, and Judge Sprizzo--are new to the pages of this web log. In the wake of Grutter v. Bollinger, A3G grudgingly acknowledges diversity as a compelling state interest, and she does aim for a good mix of judges--from different courts, parts of the country, and personal backgrounds--in the pages of her blawg.
It cannot be denied, however, that there is some truth to this criticism. Article III Groupie has two responses. First, please don't forget how much A3G depends on her readers for information. The fact that she may write more about some judges and courts than others largely reflects that some UTR readers are much more diligent than others about writing her with tidbits. Second, not all federal judicial celebrities are created equal. Can A3G be faulted for spilling much ink over Article III boldface names like Judge Posner and Judge Kozinski, while neglecting district court judges in [insert obscure judicial district here]?
As noted in UTR's mission statement, Underneath Their Robes is like People or US Weekly, but for the federal judiciary. Would anyone ever write in to People or US Weekly to complain that they spend too much time on the likes of Julia and Jude, and not enough time on Wallace Shawn and Lupe Ontiveros? With all due respect to Mr. Shawn and Ms. Ontiveros, both of whom A3G deeply admires as actors, clearly the answer is no.
This train of thought got A3G thinking about why she enjoys pop culture and celebrity gossip rags like People, US Weekly, and In Touch. Sure, she does enjoy their insightful and well-written articles--just like many men read Playboy "for the articles."* But please, we're among friends, so let's dispense with pretense. What's the main attraction of such publications? It's the pictures, stupid! The celebrity photos that appear in such magazines tend to divide into a delicious dichotomy: dazzling or disastrous. Whether these pics show stars at their best or their worst, A3G loves them all.
On the subject of photographs, Article III Groupie recommends to her readers the remarkable 32-page portfolio by the great Richard Avedon that appears in the current issue of the New Yorker. Entitled "Democracy," the portfolio consists of Avedon's portraits of Americans, both famous and not-so-famous, in the weeks leading up to the election. Avedon passed away earlier this year, as did two other great photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helmut Newton (who took this awesome photograph of Judge Kozinski). The elegant, beautiful, soulful photographs taken by these masters of the medium differ greatly from the guilty pleasures of supermarket tabloid celebrity pics, but A3G loves them just as much.
And so, with the delights of both high and low photography in mind, A3G announces the newest feature of Underneath Their Robes: In Camera: Fabulous Photographs of Article III Stars! "In Camera" will offer UTR readers exclusive pictures, both artistic and trashy, of the federal judges that we all admire and adore.
Now, where will Article III Groupie get these photographs? In an ideal world, she would take them herself. She would just love to conduct a shoot with photogenic judicial celebrities like the highly respected Judge David M. Ebel (10th Cir.), who is a member of the Elect (he clerked for Justice White); the brilliant and larger-than-life Judge Edward R. Becker (3d Cir.), one of Article III's most colorful characters, who enjoys spirited legal discussion with his clerks over Chinese food; or Kerry Supreme Court short-lister Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, who has been known to mandamus her husband when he forgets to take out the garbage. A3G is not saying these judges are necessarily judicial hotties (although Judge Motz is assuredly attractive); she just thinks they have a lot of character, which makes them great subjects for portraiture.
Article III Groupie can picture the photo shoot now. Imagine a large studio in an airy loft. Swimming in the spotlight, judicial robe in full billow thanks to an industrial fan, Judge Ebel or Becker or Motz is vamping up a storm for A3G. The judge changes poses and facial expressions with the chameleon-like ease of Linda Evangelista; A3G is furiously snapping photographs in rapid succession, while simultaneously offering direction to her model: "Judge, let me see fierce. Fierce! Yes, just like that, fierce, fierce. Great, great stuff. Okay, now I'm looking for sultry, Your Honor. Sultry, sultry. Yes, perfect, that's it! Show me some love, Judge! Work it, work it!"
Unfortunately, for various reasons, the above scenario is not possible (although there is precedent for federal judicial photo shoots; in addition to Judge Kozinski and Helmut Newton, liberal judicial diva Susan Dlott has been photographed by Annie Leibowitz, as noted here and here). Accordingly, the success of "In Camera" will have to depend upon you, the readers of UTR. And so A3G hereby issues a UTR Discovery Request: Please submit federal judicial photographs for possible publication by e-mail. (Thank God for the rise of digital cameras! A request for such photos made just a few years ago would have yielded a fraction of what A3G hopes to obtain from her readers today.)
The "In Camera" submission guidelines are as follows:
1. Submissions should be exclusive, i.e., photos not available anywhere else. Please do not download pictures available elsewhere on the internet and send them to A3G (which she is perfectly capable of doing herself).
2. Feel free to crop or otherwise alter pictures for appropriate purposes. What is an "appropriate purpose" for A3G? Well, like Justice Stewart, she knows it when she sees it. Cropping a picture to remove people who are not fabulous federal judges is perfectly acceptable; pasting federal judicial faces on to naked bodies may be more problematic.
3. Feel free to submit information about the circumstances surrounding the taking of the photo and/or a suggested caption or captions (which A3G may or may not use).
4. By submitting a photograph, you are granting A3G permission to do with it as she will. Possible purposes to which pictures might be put include, but are not limited to, publication in "In Camera"; suitable deployment in another, non-"In Camera" post; and keeping A3G company in her bubble bath, as she relieves the stress of a long day...
To start things off, A3G offers you this photograph of Judge Kozinski, entitled "IMMOOSE." A picture is worth a thousand words, so no commentary is necessary (and the title pretty much says it all anyway). Enjoy!
*Speaking of Playboy, did A3G forget to mention that Judge Kimba Wood (S.D.N.Y.)--the #1 Female Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary--was once a Playboy bunny? Oh, and with Election Day just a few days away, John Kerry has asked me to remind you: MARY CHENEY IS A LESBIAN!!!