I worry about whether our law clerks are “essential” under the “Shutdown Plan” and the Anti-Deficiency Act. I know Jim and Jan are essential and that’s because they are old. If I sent them home, they would get used to afternoon naps and never come back. I know Gabi and Ryan, the pro se staff lawyers, are essential. Otherwise, we would have to deal with the great unwashed ourselves and that would be icky.
However, I had my doubts about Bren, the career law clerk for Magistrate Judge Zwart. I know he is super smart and a great writer. He holds a Master’s degree and graduated with a whole bunch of honors from the UNL law school–degree awarded with High Distinction, Editor, Nebraska Law Review, Order of the Coif.
I also know Bren played linebacker at Nebraska Wesleyan University. But, I doubted he could swing both ways. If he couldn’t, there was no chance we should call him “essential.” That would require a report to the Anti-Deficiency police.
So, I followed Bren down the hallway as he aimlessly wandered about. Bren wanders the halls all the time (particularly when Judge Zwart is gone). It has something to do with the many concussions he suffered while playing linebacker. A nasty little twitch is a byproduct too. Anyway, when I sensed he was at his most vulnerable, I struck from behind. I applied the ultimate test of essentiality.
I screamed “Heisman pose.” To my utter astonishment, and without any hesitation, Bren twirled around and, well, this is what I saw:
Despite the vacant look (probably the concussion thing), I am now convinced. Bren is essential.