Winter Solstice

    1. Volokh, the Happy Medium.
    2. Going Postal.
    3. Much more rational, but ….
    4. Amateur – cough! cough! – athletics.


Somewhere between “we can’t do anything” and “we must do something!!!” is Eugene Volokh, who’s starting a series that will demolish the former and had darned well better give pause to the latter, some of whose ideas are fraught with peril:

Or, as someone suggested in the Huffington Post video program in which I participated, what about requiring a psychological screening before someone can buy a gun? It’s easy to see the expense, delay, and likely discrimination that this will entail. Making it easier for psychiatrists to call in a “don’t sell guns to him” request — or a “seize his guns” request — when they are consulted by a patient who says something that the psychiatrist finds disturbing, would avoid the extra expense. (Psychiatrists can of course already try to get someone committed to a mental institution, or briefly held for observation, but that is relatively rarely done; I’m speaking here of allowing psychiatrists to get the patient’s name placed on the can’t-legally-buy list and getting the police to seize the patient’s guns based on a much lesser showing of danger, for instance whenever they find the patient is suffering from depression.) But this would create another disincentive for people to consult psychiatrists, especially ones that they can’t prescreen up front for gun-friendliness — if you value your guns and know that the psychiatrist might get them taken away, perhaps indefinitely, you might not consult the psychiatrist until you’re really desparate.

Oh, I forgot. We must do something. Anything. My bad. It’s all about catharsis — our feelings that at least we tried.

The series continues.


A history professor went postal during and after the Sandy Hook massacre, and readers incited a likely first amendment violation by his employer. Although one and all thereby made themselves odious and ridiculous,

I’m more concerned about the Christians of Montana, who have a most injudicious Justice Nelson, who recently went postal in his own way, on their high court. The majority of his colleagues declined relief to plaintiffs (same-sex couples) who sought a general declaration of their rights and orders enjoining the State to provide them a “legal status and statutory structure” that protects their rights. The majority wanted something a bit more focused, as befits the role of judges rather than legislators.

Justice Nelson opened fire:

Sexual orientation is a big deal to those who demand that their personal religious beliefs, their Bible’s  abhorrence,  and their partisan ideology  concerning homosexuality must apply to everyone else, across the board, no exceptions.  But future generations—indeed, most young people today—will not fear, much less honor, the sexual-orientation taboo…. [T]he taboo will die because the scare tactics, propaganda, and misinformation of those who would hang on to the maledictions and stereotypes have proven to be so patently false, malicious, and absurd.  Most decent people  just hate  being  lied  to.

Montana’s  Marriage  Amendment  is  an  unconstitutional  attempt  to  enforce  a sectarian belief (held by some) through Montana’s secular law…. Indeed, the Marriage Amendment is undisputedly grounded in religious doctrine.  That much is apparent not only from the federal district court’s findings, but particularly from the fulminations of numerous religious organizations in the present case, led by the Montana  Catholic  Conference,  against  the  prospect  that  gay,  lesbian,  and  bisexual Montanans  might  enjoy  some  measure  of  legal  protection  for  their  relationships.   If homosexuality and same-sex relationships were not a religious issue, it is highly doubtful that any of these amici would be so actively involved in this case.

Most decent people also don’t like judges to spew 108 pages of bigoted, injudicious obiter dicta, I hope.


“I should like balls infinitely better,” she replied, “if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day.”

“Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball.”

(Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 11)

Judgee Posner concurs in a very rational, if reductionist, way, to the long sentence of a vile molester and kiddie-porn afficianado. Professor Volokh wisely comments “I’m inclined to think that there’s a very strong retributive case for life imprisonment for this particular defendant.”


Purdue Basketball players spent part of their per diems on a charity project.

Awwww! Isn’t that a sweet story!? What nice young men!

Wait a minute! “Per diem?!”

I confess to not following sports rackets closely enough, but what’s this “per diem” for “amateur” athletes?

* * * * *

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.