Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is The Issue Really "Plausible Deniability"

Over at his conspiracy, Professor Eugene Volokh provides an extensive defense of Judge Alito's decision on spousal notification. But what's the goal? If the goal is to convince me that even though every single word, opinion, or other evidence produced to date on Alito's position on abortion rights places him squarely in the "Pro-Life/Anti-Roe" camp, it's a failure. If the effort is to argue that there's enough nuance in Alito's various opinions, statements, and expressions on the issue that you could plausibly argue that he isn't definitively "Pro-Life/Anti-Roe", well... yes, through a sufficiently zealous use of sleight of hand and weasel words, I suppose that case can be made. But personally, I think we should admit the obvious and move forward from there.

And if Professor Volokh really is parsing Alito's positions this finely even though he doesn't actually take a (public) position on the abortion debate... why? If he doesn't believe that Alito's position on abortion should be relevant to his nomination, isn't that the better argument to advance? Because I don't find very compelling the notion that if we interject enough nuance into a history of statements and opinions that isn't very nuanced, we remove the issue from the table.

[Edited to correct error/omission resulting from a clumsy addition of a link.]


  1. Link is broken.

    Mr. Volokh is one of those intelligenstia who finds other people's problems to be marvelous intellectual fodder.

  2. And then there's his colleague Prof. Bernstein, who is always striving to find a mannered way to express his contempt for all things Palestinian.

  3. Please... I'm going after Prof. Volokh, not Prof. Bernstein here. Let's stick to one conspirator at a time. ;-)