Type of site
|Created by||Eugene Volokh|
The Volokh Conspiracy (// VOL-ik) is a legal blog co-founded in 2002 by law professor Eugene Volokh, covering legal and political issues from an ideological orientation it describes as "generally libertarian, conservative, centrist, or some mixture of these." It is one of the most widely read and cited legal blogs in the United States. The blog is written by legal scholars and provides discussion on complex court decisions.
In January 2014, The Volokh Conspiracy migrated to The Washington Post, with Volokh retaining full editorial control over its content. After June 2014, the blog was behind a paywall. In 2017, the blog moved to Reason. Volokh cited his principal reason for the move was to “be freely available to the broadest range of readers” and to have more editorial independence.
The Volokh Conspiracy was founded in April 2002 by Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment expert and Soviet Jewish refugee; its name is a humorous reference to Hillary Clinton's claim in 1998 of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" she believed was persecuting her and husband President Bill Clinton. After being offered a guest-blogging gig on InstaPundit, Volokh decided to start his own blog in order to quickly disseminate his views in real time to a popular audience. Volokh, a professional computer programmer, built the site himself and invited his brother, Sasha, then a graduate student, to join him. The blog was initially called The Volokh Brothers and then changed to The Volokh Conspiracy, in reference to Hillary Clinton's claim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Volokh recruited other contributors through a "closely guarded selection process."
Affordable Care Act
The Volokh Conspiracy, among other blogs, played an important role in influencing the view of Americans against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of The Volokh Conspiracy's postings were picked up by journalists and integrated into traditional media outlets. Subsequently, The Volokh Conspiracy impacted the questioning and opinions of judges and Supreme Court justices. Law professor Andrew Koppelman wrote that the blog was the "most important incubator" for constitutional challenges to the ACA.
According to legal scholar Dick Howard, The Volokh Conspiracy "provided a forum for conservative legal scholars to develop arguments against the individual mandate, helping to break down the perception of expert consensus on the constitutional issues in play." Additionally, authors of the blog were influential behind the National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius case where they were invited to submit an amicus brief which would be later referenced by Justice Antonin Scalia at oral argument. The blog was the originator of the "broccoli horrible" argument against the ACA.
Some contributors of the blog—including Randy Barnett, Jonathan Adler, David Bernstein, Orin Kerr, David Kopel, and Ilya Somin—wrote about their experiences challenging the ACA in a book titled A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Affordable Care Act (2014). The book details the precursor to the challenges and provides the text of the actual blogs that helped influence legal battles against the ACA. In the foreword of the book, former Solicitor General Paul Clement, the lead attorney who contested the ACA, compared The Volokh Conspiracy to the Federalist Papers and wrote: "[I]f ever a legal blog and a constitutional moment were meant for each other, it was the Volokh Conspiracy and the challenge to the Affordable Care Act."
The Volokh Conspiracy is one of the most widely read and cited legal blogs in the United States. It receives over 30,000 daily views.[needs update] The blog's readership consists of scholars and policymakers across the ideological spectrum. The Volokh Conspiracy blog appeared in ABA Journal's "Blawg 100 Hall of Fame".
Yale constitutional law professor Jack Balkin, founder of the liberal legal blog Balkinization, stated that The Volokh Conspiracy "discusses law and public policy at a very sophisticated level...It’s an example of how blogging transcends existing categories and expectations." Legal scholar Cass Sunstein wrote that the blog often provides "illuminating criticism" of the Supreme Court and found it filled with "civility, intelligence, and overall high quality," despite occasional group polarization. Lawyer Tom Goldstein, who co-founded SCOTUSblog, asserts that The Volokh Conspiracy "remains the single best place to go for interesting, thought-provoking, high-level thinking on the law."
Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, wrote that the Volokh Conspiracy "is the most influential law blog with a point of view." Andy Guess of Inside Higher Ed wrote that the blog "probably has more influence in the field – and more direct impact – than most law reviews."
Law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds lists The Volokh Conspiracy as his favorite legal blog. Justice Elena Kagan is said to be a regular reader of the blog. Fact-checkers like PolitiFact and FactCheck.org have repeatedly cited The Volokh Conspiracy for legal analysis.
Over twenty law professors from across the country contribute to The Volokh Conspiracy. Notable contributors, past and present, include:
- Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law professor, one of its founders
- Alexander "Sasha" Volokh, professor of law at Emory University School of Law, brother of Eugene Volokh
- Jonathan H. Adler, professor of law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, who contributed under the pseudonym "Juan Non-Volokh" until May 1, 2006
- Kenneth Anderson, professor of law at American University
- Randy Barnett, professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center
- David Bernstein, professor at the George Mason University School of Law
- Josh Blackman, professor of law at the South Texas College of Law
- Dale Carpenter, professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, and adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law
- Paul Cassell, professor of law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah
- Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, and James Buchanan Center and Mercatus Center scholar
- Clayton Cramer, historian
- Orin Kerr, professor of law at UC Berkeley School of Law, formerly at USC Gould School of Law
- Eugene Kontorovich, Antonin Scalia Law School professor
- David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute and adjunct professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
- Jim Lindgren, professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and director of their Demography of Diversity Project
- Eric Posner, professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School
- Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center
- Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law
- Todd Zywicki, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law
Articles are often posted by guest law professors who are not among the listed Conspirators.
- "Pronouncing 'Volokh'". The Volokh Conspiracy. May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- Sasha Volokh (July 20, 2016). "I'm finally attacked by name on the floor of the Senate". The Volokh Conspiracy. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
[S]he pauses for a second or two in her notes, carefully considering how to pronounce my last name before settling on [ˈvoʊlɒk] (rhymes with 'bow lock') – I don't object to that pronunciation, even though we use [ˈvɑːlək] (rhymes with 'frolic') and the Russian pronunciation is [ˈvoləx]
- "The Volokh Conspiracy: About". Volokh Conspiracy. Archived from the original on September 25, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- Eugene Volokh (January 21, 2014). "In Brazil, you can always find the Amazon – in America, the Amazon finds you". washingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- McKenzie, Lindsay (January 18, 2018). "How academic blog 'Monkey Cage' became part of the mainstream media". Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
- Volokh, Eugene (December 13, 2017). "Our Move to (Paywall-free!) Reason from The Washington Post". The Volokh Conspiracy. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Rosenberg, Yair (April 2, 2014). "The Volokh Conspiracy Is Out To Get You". Tablet Magazine. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- Paul, Pamela (April 15, 2011). "Big Blog on Campus". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
- Andy Guess, "Blogs and Wikis and 3D, Oh My!" Archived February 28, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2008.
- Graves, Lucas (2016). Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism. Columbia University Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-231-54222-7. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Gardner, Howard (2015). "Reclaiming Disinterestedness For The Digital Era". In Light, Jennifer S.; Allen, Danielle (eds.). From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age. University of Chicago Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-226-26243-7. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
- Teicholz, Adam (March 28, 2012). "Did Bloggers Kill the Health Care Mandate?". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on March 14, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- Feaster, Mark J. (Fall 2016). "Blogging and the political case: the practice and ethics of using social media to shape public opinion in anticipation of high-profile litigation". Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Georgetown University Law Center. 29 (4). Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved March 11, 2022 – via Gale.
- Koppelman, Andrew (2013). The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-997004-9. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Fisher, Jeffrey; Larsen, Allison (December 1, 2019). "Virtual Briefing at the Supreme Court". Cornell Law Review. 105 (1): 85–136. ISSN 0010-8847. Archived from the original on February 24, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
- Howard, A. E. Dick (2015). "The Changing Face of The Supreme Court". Virginia Law Review. 101 (2): 231–316. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 24363226. Archived from the original on February 24, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
- Strickler, Vincent James (2014), Davis, Richard (ed.), "The Supreme Court and New Media Technologies", Covering the United States Supreme Court in the Digital Age, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 73, doi:10.1017/cbo9781107280595.005, ISBN 978-1-107-05245-1, archived from the original on June 11, 2018, retrieved February 19, 2022
- Frankel, Alison (May 30, 2019). "Supreme Court scholars' new paper sparks debate over influence of blogs, podcasts". Reuters. Archived from the original on February 25, 2022. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
- Levy, Marin K. (September 4, 2019). "Confronting Online Advocacy". Jotwell. University of Miami School of Law. ISSN 2330-1295. Archived from the original on March 1, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
- Collins, Ronald (January 30, 2014). "Book profile: A Conspiracy Against Obamacare – The book based on the blog". SCOTUSblog. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
- Collins, Ronald K.L.; Edwards, Harry T. (2016). "On Legal Scholarship: Questions for Judge Harry T. Edwards". Journal of Legal Education. AALS. 65 (3): 637–660. ISSN 0022-2208. JSTOR 26177048. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
- Lerner, Preston (April 1, 2015). "Eugene Volokh's Global Influence". Los Angeles Magazine. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
- Lubet, Steven (2008). The Importance of Being Honest: How Lying, Secrecy, and Hypocrisy Collide with Truth in Law. NYU Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-8147-5221-0. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Weiss, Debra Cassens (August 29, 2012). "Blogging Law Profs Can Disrupt the Rankings and Increase SSRN Downloads, Analysis Suggests". ABA Journal. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
- Hewitt, Hugh (2006). Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World. Thomas Nelson. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-4185-1334-4. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Solove, Daniel J. (2007). The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. Yale University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-300-13819-1. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
- "Introducing Our Inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame". ABA Journal. December 1, 2012. Archived from the original on March 21, 2022. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
- "Balkin Talks Blogs" (PDF). Yale Law Report. Yale Law School. Winter 2007. pp. 44–45. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Sunstein, Cass R. (2006). Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-19-804079-8. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
- Goldstein, Tom (May 6, 2012). "Happy 10th". SCOTUSblog. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
- Yester, Katherine (October 21, 2009). "Expert Sitings: Glenn Reynolds". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
- Craddock, Brian A. (2009). "2009: A Blawg Odyssey: Exploring How the Legal Community Is Using Blogs and How Blogs are Changing the Legal Community". Mercer Law Review. 60 (4). Archived from the original on December 8, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
- Barnett, Randy E.; Adler, Jonathan H.; Bernstein, David E.; Kerr, Orin S.; Kopel, David B.; Somin, Ilya (2013). Burrus, Trevor (ed.). A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9781137363732. ISBN 978-1-137-36374-9.