It’s not often that I read something that literally makes my jaw drop. That happened this morning when I read conservative legal scholar Eugene Volokh’s enthusiastic endorsement of execution by torture and strangulation, as practiced in Iran. Needless to say, his thoughts on the matter have attracted a firestorm of comments. Matthew Yglesias is worth reading on the subject, as is Digby. For my money, the best response to Volokh’s argument is hilzoy’s Hatred is a Poison, which was actually written in response to something else.
What really shocks me is how deeply felt Volokh’s opinion must be on this subject for him to post about it publicly. Not only does it transcend then shame that he should feel about it, but it also transcends any sort of consideration of his future prospects in his chosen profession. I’ve heard it discussed that he might someday be nominated to the federal bench, and honestly until I read that post, I wouldn’t have been opposed to it. When you endorse the idea of amending the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment from the Bill of Rights to explicitly endorse not only the death penalty but the intentional infliction of pain on criminals, I’d like to think you’ve disqualified yourself from that kind of job.