Volokh Responds to His Critics

Eugene Volokh, whose surprising advocacy of torture as a means of punishing the most heinous of criminals created a blogstorm of responses, including mine, has issued a thoughful response to the major arguments. It is lengthy, thoughful, nuanced, and defies excerpting. I remain unswayed, mostly out of squeamishness but also a sense that torturing people accomplishes nothing that humane execution or lifetime incarceration would not. Still, his essay is well worth reading.

I do agree with him, though, in his sidebar discussion on whether the Bill of Rights are holy writ. The Framers included an amendment process for a reason, after all.

I would argue, too, that the Bill of Rights has been “amended” dozens of times in practice via judicial fiat. The 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Amendments, particularly, are but a shadow of their former selves.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rick DeMent says:

    They also included the 9th ammendment for a reason.