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January 14th, 2012

Is “Article III Clerk” for Real? (Updated)

photo credit: FrogMiller, close up of US Constitution from National Archives

Have I seen this play before? A young guy, believing he is anonymous, spews on the web. When we last saw the show, it was starring  a doctor known as Flea writing about his malpractice trial. He ended out on the front page of the Boston Globe.

Today we may be seeing the reincarnation of Flea, in the Twitter persona of Article III Clerk,* an arrogant, pompous judicial clerk writing about his boss and the litigants that come before the court. And doing so in scathing terms.

But is it real? Or is s/he merely a humorist of some type?

He wouldn’t be the first person to use an Article III pseudonym, of course, as Article III Groupie preceded him by many years, with a delicious wit at Underneath their Robes. She described herself as “a federal judicial starf**ker.” She had style. And A3G wasn’t anything close to arrogant as she ran her stories on judicial “divas and hotties.” When A3G finally revealed herself six years ago this week, she was actually David Lat. He quickly resigned his post as Assistant United States Attorney and went on to blogging greatness at Above the Law.

(For the non-lawyers, Article III refers to the third article of the Constitution, which establishes the judiciary. Rick Santorum thinks it’s the least important part of government. Why? Because it comes third:

“Article I is Congress, Article II is the president and Article III is the courts. If it was the most important, they wouldn’t have put it third.”

OK, I digressed, but you gotta admit that was worth it, right?)

Back to Article III Clerk. His Twitter feeds describes him thusly:

Current law clerk for a Senior U.S. District Judge on the East Coast. He’s really fucking old, so I roll the dice of justice on my own.

So right out of the box, before knowing nothing else about him, we know something is afoot. Is it humor, or a twenty-something speaking the truth and playing with matches under the cover of anonymity? When we peek inside his feed that just started on January 11th, we see some stuff that could constitute decent criticism and wit:

NOTE TO PLAINTIFF’S LAWYERS: If you ignore Twombly and Iqbal in the Opp to a MTD, you should be disbarred. They happened. Deal with it.

If you put “Esquire” after your name at the end of your motion, I will rule against you. Every. Time.

The opposition you filed was goddamn unreadable. You think I want 10 more typo-ridden pages about what light I should view evidence in?

Not bad. Could be worth repeating if you like that stuff.

But….and you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you? Let’s check out a few other tweets (or twits) that seem to dance up to the line —  if not over that line if the feed is not a parody or satire, and could place the author’s license at risk:

Judge called from home today to “check in.” I got it under control you senile fuck. Go back to napping underneath 20 blankets.

Thing is, if I don’t grant this MSJ, this thing might actually go to trial. Which means I have to interact with Judge in person. Paaassssss.

Clerk of court is either on smack or she is retarded. 2 days since I gave her ruling. Release my brilliance to the people. Let them weep.

@lawschoollawlz I’m a de facto Art. III judge at age 27 & haven’t talked to “boss” in 3 days. What in the living fuck are you talking about?

I really, really hope the Judge doesn’t die while I’m clerking.

Not sure what to think. Would this person really want his identify disclosed? Remember the Golden Rule of the digital age: Don’t type anything you’re afraid to see on the front page of the paper. What are the ramifications, if he speaks the truth? If truthful, he’s revealed that he works for a senior federal judge on the east coast who may not be well, that he is 27, and the court clerk is female. That’s a lot of biographical data to narrow down the possibilities. Also, that he’s incredibly arrogant for a young pup that may never have stood in the well himself.

Hopefully, it’s just an attempt at humor.

*Update 1/15/12 – The Twitter feed of @ArticleIIIClerk has gone dead. Which leads me to guess it might have been real, and not a parody. Also, that the clerk woke up and realized he was making a big mistake. Just my guess. Anyone with real info, feel free to let me know in the comments or via email.

5 thoughts on “Is “Article III Clerk” for Real? (Updated)

  1. It’s gotta be satire.

    “You should probably be watching “Intervention” instead. RT @bretturig Watching The Firm on NBC so I can get prepared for life as a lawyer.”

    That was awesome.

  2. I like this story because of the ambiguity. What’s so very cool about the internet is that a person have the ability to go on and do things anonymously, experiment and find a new voice for him or herself. Of course there are drawbacks, like if the Tweeter in question here happened to be spewing hate speech or going after someone specific. There are fewer and fewer places to do something anonymously, and some people are happy about that. Absolute freedom is a scary thing that can bring out the worst, but it’s also the inspiration for plenty of innovation and, in this case, some funny Tweets.