The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


A few thoughts on publishing an Op-Ed in the New York Times


Last Friday, an editor from the New York Times asked if I would be willing to write an op-ed in support of the President's defense. I agreed. I had been planning to write something, and was glad to have the large forum. I did so with full knowledge that the criticism–on the right and left–would be significant.

The article was published in the early morning. About twelve hours later, the Times website is up to nearly 3,000 comments and counting. It was the lead piece on the opinion page for most of the day. I received about three-dozen "fan" emails. A few of them used racial epithets. (People made an incorrect assumption about my race based on my last name.) No anti-semitic email yet, but I've received those in the past. The negative emails far outweigh the positive emails. I suspect my Dean has also received some messages. I had given him a heads up. (One person wrote that he would contact my "supervisor!").

I received a handful of voicemails at my office, one of which said "I should be ashamed of myself." The person didn't leave a name. I did not check my Twitter mentions today, quite deliberately. Friends have told me they're pretty bad. Plenty of academic subtweeting. Indeed, at least one blog post criticized me, but did not name me–"some have argued." There maybe others, but they are hard to find.

I am grateful to my co-bloggers Jon Adler and Ilya Somin for offering substantive responses to my post. They model the best of what academic discourse has to offer. I will respond to them in due course.