Tablet Magazine, a periodical that focuses on Jewish life, has a detailed feature about the Volokh Conspiracy, its founder Eugene Volokh, the other conspirators, and how these band of right-wing libertarians fit into the broader Jewish zeitgeist. I was quoted in a few places about the role the Volokh Conspiracy–though notably not Eugene himself–played in the debate over the ACA:
In the wake of the passage, in 2010, of the Affordable Care Act—the cornerstone of President Obama’s domestic agenda—libertarian writers for The Volokh Conspiracy were instrumental in building the constitutional challenge to the law’s individual mandate. “When the Affordable Care Act was going through the legislative process, most law professors agreed that the ACA was constitutional,” said South Texas College of Law’s Josh Blackman, who wrote the definitive scholarly account of the challenge.
Then The Volokh Conspiracy entered the fray, and everything changed. “Usually these kinds of legal arguments develop over the course of many years in law reviews, in conferences and symposiums,” Blackman continued, “but this was on warp speed. You had blog posts on the day where you could actually see the arguments shaping before you.”
But without question, the blog’s primary impact has been on the American domestic front, from disputes surrounding eminent domain to the case against the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, the Obamacare challenge exemplified how The Volokh Conspiracy has radically transformed the legal landscape. In the past, the academy often looked askance at blogging as a distraction from more serious legal writing, to the extent that some professors initially joined the Conspiracy under pseudonyms to conceal their involvement. Today, however, blogs have become the driver of the discourse. “The way law professoring used to work was that you would spend a year writing a law review article, you would workshop it among other professors, and maybe in 18 months, it would come out in a printed book that no one would ever read,” explained Blackman, the South Texas professor. “Now a case is decided and within a few minutes you can post a few hundred words on a blog, which becomes now the narrative shaper —and I think you can credit that to Eugene Volokh and the other conspirators.”
Kudos to everyone at VC for shaping the debate, and the way lawprofs can influence the world.