Friday, May 29, 2009

Volokh's sensitive spot on torture

Eugene Volokh thinks Michael Paulsen's testimony on the torture memos is that of "a serious and thoughtful scholar, and his views struck me as worth passing along."

His testimony amounts to a blanket endorsement of the Bybee/Yoo memos' legal correctness and validity, with scarcely any argument as to why that's the case -- "trust me," in so many words. (Tamanaha & commenters tore Paulsen down pretty effectively.)

Those of us who commented at Volokh's post that professors risk making themselves look bad when they praise hacks as "serious and thoughtful scholars" ... got our comments deleted as "sniping," even where we engaged Paulsen on the merits.

As I remarked in probably-deleted-by-now later comments, Volokh's sympathy for torture was noted at Crooked Timber a while back, and makes an ironic counterpoint to that Larison post I quoted this morning:
Perhaps the son or grandson of Russian emigres has a more keen appreciation for the rule of law because his family escaped from the grip of a totalitarian state; he does not take for granted what most of us and our ancestors have always known.
Or, hey, perhaps not.

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