Article III Groupie Comes Out of the Closet:
Via Howard, I learn that Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker is announcing that Article III Groupie of Underneath Their Robes is David B. Lat, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Newark, NJ. An excerpt:
  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."
  David is a Harvard College and Yale Law grad who clerked for Judge O'Scannlain on the Ninth Circuit; my understanding is that he now argues Third Circuit appeals from the Newark office.

  No word yet on whether David is also behind the short-lived Proculian Meditations.
Jack John (mail):
This is terrible. I can't read that site knowing the author is a man.
11.14.2005 9:59am
I must admit, I fell for the gender trick hook, line, and sinker. UTR was one of the most hilarious sites ever written but frankly, it's hard for me to imagine how the author will continue to function normally in the world of federal practice. What do you do when the judge admonishes you because you left him off the list of "Super-Hotties of the Federal Judiciary"?
11.14.2005 10:04am
M (mail):
What was thought to be good about that site anyway? I found it both boring and stupid.
11.14.2005 10:37am
Au contraire, N: the site was more sophisticated than you recognize. However, I also agree that it is now kind of disturbing to now know that the pink cascade, and all the sight-ations, and "super-hottie" remarks came from a dude. It made me realize that very gender specific humor exists, even in a (somewhat) serious environment like legal gossip. The little quirks of the other seemed cute or amusing when thinking of them flowing from the works of a female.
11.14.2005 10:54am
"Surprising," perhaps, but what's "disturbing" about it?
11.14.2005 11:09am
Per Son:
I read somewhere that UTR gets tons of emails asking him(her) out on dates.

They are probably yucked out.
11.14.2005 11:11am
This could definitely be a joke. A3G goes out of its way to call John Robert's dimple 'cute' and his son a 'hottie'. I don't think any straight guy would admit to all of this.
I can't decide if this is really funny or really disturbing...
11.14.2005 11:31am
Oh, I missed the part of the article where it said he was straight.
11.14.2005 11:33am
Per Son:
Maybe A3G is really the Dame Edna of law blogs.
11.14.2005 11:36am
Lane (www):
Are you all really that "disturbed" that someone would assume an alternate-gender persona? I find the reaction here to be much stranger than Mr. Lat's highly entertaining writing. Let's hope he can keep it up.
11.14.2005 11:41am
Juan Non-Volokh (mail) (www):
Alas, A3G's real identity is much more exciting than mine.
11.14.2005 11:41am
columbia undergrad:
Does he keep posting now with his identity exposed? I hope so, but it will be a bit strange now...
11.14.2005 11:43am
Strange and/or disturbing = a knowledge of Prada and Gucci's fall line of women's shoes that was just a little too in depth . . . as well as the aforementioned hottie-isms.
11.14.2005 11:58am
Perhaps this is Prof. Non-Volokh's true identity.
11.14.2005 12:06pm
what i find "strange is disturbing" is that y'all find a man's knowledge of prada shoes and a man's opinion that john roberts is dead sexy as "strange and disturbing."

didn't realize we were in alabama.
11.14.2005 12:13pm
Q Weld:
Now I know what Nancy Allen and Stephen Rea felt like! I would like to point out, though, that we, as UTR readers, are engaging in a similar form of self-delusion to Mr. Lat's when we read the site: namely that we are able to cast ourselves as the fawning, bobby-socked recipients of such prattle.
11.14.2005 12:15pm
I am disappointed he/she didn't pull this off with more style. Jeremy Blachman got a book deal when he was "un-masked," but A3G/Lat comes off looking vaguely schizophrenic.
11.14.2005 12:20pm
Jonathan M (mail):
Will Juan Non-Volokh be next!
11.14.2005 12:43pm
duras (mail):
Horribly disturbing,

UTR was (is?) one of the most hilarious and entertaining sights on the net (possibly the most entertaining) AND very informative and sophisticated as well. This revelation, if true (please, please, please, let it not be so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) is indeed VERY disturbing. The humor is intensely gender specific and that which is histarical and appealing coming from a girl (or someone one believes to be a girl) is, uhm..., something less coming from a guy. The post on UTR does not offer the strong refutation we might have hoped for.
11.14.2005 1:00pm
Redheadlaw (mail):
Somebody may have been on to this...

11.14.2005 1:16pm
Crime & Federalism (mail) (www):
I've been vindicated in my view that she was a man. No woman - and I mean none - uses the word "honeypot" in the context A3G does. Except for those "women" who "send" letters to the Penth0use F0rum, which, of course, is where most men (well, usually teens) learn the word. (Though I must have learned that word from a more wholesome source.)
11.14.2005 1:18pm
redheadlaw7 (mail):
An excerpt from Crime and Federalism:

"December 04, 2004
Article III Groupie and Feminism
We often hear that intelligent girls hide their brilliance from their peers because guys do not like smart girls. Is it true that guys do not like smart girls, or is it more accurate to say that smart girls need to look harder for an intellectual match?

I think the answer lies with Article III Groupie and her blog Underneath Their Robes.

A3G gets numerous compliments and unsolicited date invitations by men who have never seen her. A3G is adored for her brains, not her looks. Although many people suspect that she is attractive, it is her poignant writing and creativeness that attract her many admirers. One person even wants to "totally make out with A3G."

Indeed, even if Groupie is really a man, as Judge Posner has suggested, my point remains true. People assume she is a brilliant woman, and that is why they love her. Groupie is clearly the Most Wanted Blogger.

She also moves forward the womens' movement more so than affirmative action or other quota programs. Groupie demonstrates that men will fall over themselves for a brilliant girl. So, ladies, if you want a successful companion, don't be afraid to put down the compact and pick up a book (though there is nothing wrong with being brilliant and beautiful).

There is no longer an excuse for girls to believe that they must hide their brains. That is, you don't need to hide your intelligence if you want to date lawyers instead of stoners. Then again, if you want to date from the later category, you are probably not, by definition, very sharp.

[Thanks to my wife, who also admires Groupie, for inspiring this post.]"
11.14.2005 1:19pm
Posner (and others) called this one a long time ago.
11.14.2005 1:22pm
I think the "outing" of A3G reveals more about us men who built up idealized fantasies about her than it does about Lat, who I presume had a few women advising him on the nuances of Prada and Italian undergarments. Kudos to Lat for pulling it off for so long. However, now that we know that she is a man, A3G simply MUST stop calling her/himself a "federal judicial starf#@$er!"
11.14.2005 1:37pm
Crime & Federalism (mail) (www):
redheadlaw7, I'm confused why you copied that here.
11.14.2005 1:41pm
Anon. 1863:
Jonathan M: I doubt the unmasking of Juan will be anywhere near as exciting -- unless he turns out to be a woman! I can't imagine there's anyone who is suspecting that...
11.14.2005 1:49pm
redheadlaw7 (mail):
Sorry about that...the link button didn't work...
11.14.2005 1:56pm
redheadlaw7 (mail):
BTW...Juan is NOT a female.
11.14.2005 1:57pm
Arthur (mail):
No one would care if Juan non-Volokh is a woman. It would be a shocking transgression if Juan non-volokh turns out ot be a . . . volokh.
11.14.2005 1:58pm
duras (mail):

Generally agree with your post. It's hard to imagine though that circa 2005 (indeed, Circa 1985 - I was 13 but I recall somewhat clearly) intelligent women feel/felt the need to play dumb. It is true, however, that a demonstrably brilliant, highly credentialed elite girl lawyer becomes that much more attractive if she supplements these qualities with being a materialistic airhead.

If Lat really "is" A3G, though, he certainly grasps what it is that guys fantasize about and presents it to a T.

(P.S. my wife is not nearly as disturbed as I am at the revelation - although she is impressed by the actual credentials of A3G/Lat (????????????) which are even more impressive than her own - Ivy and Top 5 but not Harvard and Yale - only 1 SCOTUS interview and certainly not Wachtell - she turned them down).
11.14.2005 2:02pm
let's not beat around the bush:
Orin, is this entry's title an indication that you (perhaps reasonably) believe A3G to be gay? I know you could be using it in another way, but let's be honest here.
11.14.2005 2:14pm
I bet the Harreit Miers blog was written by a man, too.
11.14.2005 2:38pm
I don't see anything disturbing or surprising about a man writing in a first-person female voice.
11.14.2005 2:47pm
Orin, is this entry's title an indication that you (perhaps reasonably) believe A3G to be gay?

For that matter, if he is gay, I don't see what the big deal is.
11.14.2005 2:54pm
*gasp* a gay lawyer? never in a million years would i have thought that could be true...
11.14.2005 2:57pm
RPS (mail):

Orin, is this entry's title an indication that you (perhaps reasonably) believe A3G to be gay? I know you could be using it in another way, but let's be honest here.

Does anyone believe he is not gay? I thought it was just a given. And that is based on so much more than just his writing in a first-person female voice.

Concurring with C&F, my ladyfriend has been saying for a while that no woman speaks like that, and it must be a gay guy.
11.14.2005 2:59pm
Matt Barr (mail) (www):
Lat should be justly proud. It's an outstanding blog, and pulling off fooling almost everybody into thinking he was a woman just crowns the achievement.

I suppose it would be snarky of me to wonder aloud to the what's-the-big-deal, your-reaction-says-more-about-you-than-him crowd why they suppose Lat was trying to fool people into thinking he was female. I submit it's because it does make a difference who you think an author is, as paleolithic as that notion might be. That is, if in some alternate universe somewhere it doesn't matter if a gossippy site about super-hotties and bench-slaps is written by a man or woman, why not write is "as" a man to begin with?
11.14.2005 3:12pm
I'd say I don't know if he is gay.
11.14.2005 3:14pm

Obviously, he made a conscious choice to write as a female, so in that sense it must have mattered to him in some way. But there are lots of ways in which it could have mattered. For example, he might not have been trying to actually fool people into really thinking the author was a woman ... he might just have thought a female voice was the right choice given the nature of the jokes he wanted to make.

Or maybe he did want to mess with people's assumptions. Either way, it makes sense to me.
11.14.2005 3:21pm
Samuel Alito (mail) (www):
Straight, gay, male, female, I think the guy has class for being an out-and-out good writer and researcher.

If your stomach is turning because he's not a woman, you had inappropriate sexual thoughts about a plainly fictional persona.

If your stomach is turning simply because the mystery of "who is it" has been spoiled, well, there are plenty of blogs out there whose author remains anonymous.

Samuel A. Alito ("The A Stands for Awesome")
11.14.2005 3:50pm
Gay/straight/confused--all lead to same query: Why would someone of A3Lat's credentials take the time to so methodically know women's fashion? I understand him liking to read US Weekly. As busy as he is (billing thousands and thousands of hours in Manhattan), I just don't understand the side-hobby to get to the level of women's insight necessary to dupe everybody (except of course all the women who say that they knew it was a hoax). Anybody that reacts in any way other than vaguely or even a little disturbed must have some other agenda (talking to you, "against the law.").
11.14.2005 4:00pm
Also disappointing that there is no other news in the VC today to detract from this story. This one is interesting at least. Bush Lied. Great idea for a campaign. Why not run against somebody who IS up for election again in the future?
11.14.2005 4:03pm
perhaps the side hobby is not to dupe anyone - its just an actual side hobby.
11.14.2005 4:07pm
Pooh (www):
I don't see the big deal. Is there really any question that much of UTR's stuff would seem off-putting and a little slimy coming from a guy? Can you hear the feminist outcry if a male character described various "Judicial Divas" as "Hotties?" So, in order to write an amusing and gossipy site about federal judges, one almost has to assume a Joan Rivers-like personna.

Personally, I'll have no problem accepting future A3G writings, so long as the author maintains a consistent voice.
11.14.2005 4:11pm
The fact that A3G is a man and was able to fool so many people for so long is just further proof of his comic genius and his mastery of the genre (if tabloid-gossip can be so dignified).

I, for one, will enjoy the blog all the more now that I know that A3G is a (partly) fictional character. This is high comedy people.
11.14.2005 4:11pm

I see you as asking two separate questions. One question is why Lat would take the time to create any fictional character with such detail. The other is why he chose this fictional character in particular.

I don't find either of those questions that hard to answer. On the first, busy people routinely put a great deal of time and energy into their creative projects. I think they often find it relaxing, or a welcome escape, or just plain fun. On the second, as I suggested above, once Lat had the basic idea for the blog (applying this particular genre to the Article III judiciary), choosing a female voice makes sense.

In short, I think this wondering about why Lat knows so much about shoes is like asking why a person who decided to write a novel set in medieval times knows so much about swords--the answer is that the nature of the project dictates what the author has to learn.
11.14.2005 4:15pm
Well, nobody's perfect.

(With due apologies to Joe E. Brown.)
11.14.2005 5:32pm
His blog has been taken off-line. Will he lose his job?
11.14.2005 5:33pm
a new blog:
There is someone trying to fill the void...
11.15.2005 12:04am
I don't see the point in having outed A3G. Bummer. I used to think so highly of Jeffrey Toobin, too. What a spoilsport...
11.15.2005 3:14am
Marc Shepehrd (mail):
I get the impression that Lat cooperated with Toobin -- that is, he outed himself. From the text of the article, it's clear this was not an involuntary 'outing'.

Now, it may be that the buzzards were circling, and Lat realized he was about to be 'outed' anyway. Having realized that, he decided to do it on his own terms.

Another possibility is that he'd gotten tired of wearing the mask.
11.15.2005 8:13am
BruceM (mail) (www):
So is this the end of UTR? I see the site is down. I loved that site, it was truly hilarious and informative. I wonder though, how would you feel if you found out the lawyer doing your habeas corpus writ turned out to be article III groupie? Would you a. want a new lawyer and b. get beaten up in prison?
11.15.2005 9:22am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Oh never mind, I see that A3G is actually a US Attorney, so there are people who've been sent to federal prison by A3G. Hah.
11.15.2005 9:28am
Flaming Idiot (mail):
Wow. Sorry, but no matter how much I desired "credit" for my blog, I always kept my eyes on the fact that I had devoted years of my life and $150,000 to becoming who I was. Apparently, Mr. Lat isn't very happy as a AUSA.

I guess the good news is that he won't be one for long.
11.15.2005 4:26pm