Who Are You, Non-Lawyers?


Every year or so, I ask you folks this, so I thought I'd do it again now. Tell us a bit about yourselves, if you are not a lawyer or a law student; if you are one, please respond on the other thread.

NEXT: Who Are You, Lawyers and Law Students?

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  1. I am an electrical engineer now employed as a software development engineer in an open-source environment; in my 60’s, with associates 1/3 my age to older than me. I invent, build, write, swim, and sail my own boat. I’m a conservative. I don’t belong to a political party. I find the law fascinating, and wonder if I should have pursued that instead of engineering, but it’s all good.

  2. I hold a PhD in Chemical Engineering and hold a PE License. I lived in China for one year and traveled there extensively. I have retired from engineering, and have started my own business which has nothing to do with my previous life.

  3. I’m a conservative in the classical liberal sense. Because the Republicans are the national party that most represents classical liberalism, I am a republican, but would give it up if they abandon it. I have a degree in Investment Finance, am in my 50’s, and create online tools for conservatives at the website that matches my login name. I have run for office, hosted a local radio show, and tried to live my principles.

    1. I stole a bit of your “who you are” for “who I am”. (hat-tip)

  4. I am a mother in Nashville, Tennessee who has been fighting a custody battle from hell for 6 years. I had no idea that your rights were not automatically protected by lawyers and judges. I’m conservative, Republican, main interests are working to promote judicial accountability and family integrity. Ran for city council last year. Don’t like politics, but am trying to learn to enjoy being more politically active. I’m one who would rather die on my feet than live on my knees, and my 11 year old daughter is very much like me. She is not handling being cut off from me very well, but I doing everything I can to promote truth, justice, and liberty so that we can have peace. I will never again believe anything bad about people that I only read in court opinions. You shouldn’t either.

    1. As you apparently have learned from experience, the justice system isn’t perfect. It is inhabited by usually well-intentioned people who are quite capable of making mistakes.

      Good luck!

  5. I’m a middle-aged academic in the field of United States History, teaching at a second-tier public university. Left-liberal politics, although increasingly libertarian in some areas of economic policy, while maintaining a fundamental belief in the benefits of a strong social safety net, partially rooted, no doubt, in my own background growing up in Australia.

    My legal interests focus mainly on constitutional law, criminal justice, and intellectual property, and are not really connected very closely with my academic work. I come here mainly because I find lot of the legal stuff discussed on these pages interesting. I listen to legal podcasts like Short Circuit by the Institute for Justice, Strict Scrutiny (Leah Littman, Melissa Murray, Kate Shaw), Bloomberg Law, and sometimes Lehto’s Law.

    1. Why would you buy into the idea of any university as being second-tier?

      Is knowledge not universal?

      I don’t think it it matters where you learn something. Instead, I think it matters how seriously you take the learning process. Students get what they put in.

  6. I am a 57-year old libertarian transwoman who will be fully”out” this summer. I am also a US Air Force retiree who spent a “little” time in intelligence. :0)
    I have recently taken to reading Supreme Court cases (via Reason and the Volokh Conspiracy.) I find them to be quite fascinating and intellectually challenging. The opinions I disagree with (Kelo for one) are the most interesting as I try to parse out the rationale behind it.

    1. This is a really good practice.

      When reading a judicial opinion you disagree with, one way to really understand it is to play pretend and imagine you agree with it. Now, try to defend your play pretend view against the strongest arguments you can think of.

  7. I’m a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel. My work was largely in logistics aspects, regional and national level, of war planning before the Berlin Wall came down. After I retired in 1996, I worked as a contractor at HQ US European Command for 11 years. I retired entirely in 2007.

    My degrees are in aerospace engineering and military logistics. I maintain strong interests in international relations, politics, government, the law, military affairs, family history/genealogy, languages, history, science, and technology. I lived overseas for many years in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. We are waiting for China to reopen so that we can return to Shanghai, where my wife works as a school librarian.

  8. I am retired. I was a software developer at the time of my retirement, but have also worked in the Nuclear industry, manufacturing, and government. I have under graduate degrees in chemical engineering and computer science. I also have an MBA. I am very much a Libertarian and have a deep interest in the constitution and constitutional law.

  9. I’m a pilot in my early 40’s. I’ve been living internationally for the last few years but will most likely be returning to the US soon. I’ve been a staunch libertarian since before I knew the term and as I progress into middle-age I find myself more and more interested in law and politics.

  10. I am trained as an electronics technician. I have had three or four careers at my current employer (depends how you count them) where I moved from testing to hardware development to industrial network development to software engineering. The youngest coworkers I have are about 1/3 my age. I enjoy hunting and antique tractors as hobbies. I find law interesting as well. My political philosophy is best described as libertarian. I don’t look forward to Trump or Biden winning the election. Hillary would be about the only worse outcome I can imagine.

    1. This is precisely why we need ranked choice voting. People are stuck voting for the lesser evil, because they don’t want to throw away their vote.

      1. I’ve gotten so tired of voting against people rather than for, that I stopped voting altogether. I live in a state with ranked choice voting, but it’s like ranking flavors of shit. I don’t see the point. Sorry to curse on your thread.

  11. Currently a software developer, also a law school dropout and an Air Force vet. Very much a libertarian, both small and large L and am very interested in the law as well as economics.

  12. I’m a conservative in the classical liberal sense. Because the Republicans are the national party that most represents classical liberalism, I mostly vote for them. I would vote Libertarian if they weren’t high on dope and running around naked at their convention. I started as an Army Ranger then was a Federal LE Agent working Counterintelligence. After retirement, I went into life insurance as an Advanced Planning Consultant. While I traversed the law in both enforcement and IRS Code, I enjoy reading case law on civics and liberties with an emphasis on Constitutional matters. I appreciate the service of both Reason and VC and thank you for all the hard work.

    1. LOL…”high on dope and running around naked at their convention”

      1. I stole a bit of your “who you are” for “who I am”. (hat-tip)

        1. sorry, misposted the above.

    2. I don’t think the Republican Party stands for what you say it does.

      What is McConnell’s number on priority right now? Liability protection for businesses so that they are not liable for ordinary negligence, but only gross negligence.

      Is allowing people to avoid taking responsibility for their own decisions really a core tenant of classical liberalism? Call me skeptical.

      1. I don’t think you read (in my post) what you thought you read (in my post).

        Though most actual lawyers do a horrible job at it, you must apply logic to what you are reading. When I say “most represents classical liberalism” it does NOT mean:

        – Only Republicans represent classical liberalism.
        – Democrats (and others) do not represent classical liberalism (though they rarely do).
        – Republicans always represent classical liberalism.

        I reject your strawman argument.

  13. Retired real estate broker/agent, paralegal, electronic technician and other things along the way. Have always had an interest in law, after reading Reflections on the French Revolution by Burke, my attention tended towards a libertarian conservative basis. Enjoy especially the short circuit mini reports, which both enrage and engage me.

  14. Trauma surgeon, libertarian of the minarchist persuasion, 2nd amendment absolutist, pretty damn sure we are going to recapitulate the 60s and 70s over the next decades and fairly depressed about it.

    1. If people want to move past the past, they have to find a way to work together. That seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle, lately.

  15. I’m a metropolitan transportation planner with a casual interest in law, particularly constitutional law.

  16. I am an economist, author, and public speaker. I am also an emeritus law professor. I am not, however, a lawyer, never having either passed the bar or practiced.

    I am not a law student in the ordinary sense of the term, someone enrolled as a student at a law school, although I have studied the law.

  17. I have a PhD in linguistics, got into the field with some interest in automated translation and AI, but the technology of the day wasn’t up to the challenge, so ended up doing a career in IT and data mining. But my linguistics did take me to China (1982-83), in the first wave of Westerners teaching English after the Cultural Revolution. I had a pretty good idea of how social control worked back then. They saw everything. They see even more today. I’ve long leaned toward a Classical Liberal view, and now, in semi-retirement, have more time to read arguments over the Enlightenment. I’ve followed VC since before it moved to the Washington Post.

  18. I teach English composition in post-secondary education and have a PhD in English, though the majority of my career was spent teaching high school English. I’m also a Plaintiff in a section 1983 lawsuit for violation of my 1A speech. What I once truly believed could be corrected with a phone call explaining the police officer’s misunderstanding of the statute (truly naive, I know), has been going on for 5 years now. I have educated myself on matters completely unknown to me before this experience, including QI, and with the encouragement of my attorney and family have decided to begin law school at age 48. Classes begin in 2 weeks.

    1. My favorite comment so far. Good luck, AK.

    2. 5 years to complete a lawsuit?

      I thought qualified immunity was supposed to make things more efficient. In reality, it is just another thing to argue about that has nothing to do with the merits.

      If people want the legal system more efficient at resolving disputes, it should get to the merits with all deliberate speed, and by that, I mean much faster than desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education.

      1. David Welker: We are in appellate court now, and I don’t think my case is much different than most QI cases. The only thing QI is efficient at is revictimizing those who try to hold police accountable for their violations of law and constitutional rights.

  19. MS in physics, then a JD.
    Practiced for 5 years, and now I do science policy for a government agency.

    1. Allah help us. No wonder our government is a mess.

      1. Now STOP that, AmosArch!

    2. THIS, in part, explains why you are so logical.

      1. I remember your post setting me straight on line-drawing difficulties not being so difficult with Citizens United.

        As to logic (and thanks for the compliment), hard to say if it’s the cause of my professional choices or the effect.
        In real life few accuse me of being logical, though many seek me out as an editor.

        1. I enjoy our back and forth, Sarcastr0.

  20. I’m in New Zealand and have been visiting the Volokh Conspiracy since 2003. I have a law degree but have never practiced as my current job pays better and I suspect working as a lawyer would be much less interesting than reading and thinking about legal issues.

    1. Are you the Nigel Kearney on Bridge Winners?

  21. I am an emergency physician who grew up in families of lawyers and went straight…Also a retired US Air Force officer (a pilot, not a doc).

    1. What kind of plane did you fly in the Air Force?

  22. I am a person who enjoys deep dives into written English, and I find that reading this blog and legal opinions help scratch that itch.

    I study set theory and formal logic, especially procedural logic, propositional logic, and modal logic. I also enjoy studying large finite numbers. And theoretical physics a la Sabine Hossenfelder, as a rank amateur. I often read Gödel.

    Are lawyers trained in formal logic?

    1. Lawyers aren’t trained in logic. But those who don’t have a basic grasp of logic will not be successful in their jobs.

  23. I began following the Volokh blog on RSS while in law school at a top-25 school many years ago. I realized midway through my JD that I wasn’t interested in becoming an attorney, though I still finished my degree. I jumped into a completely unrelated field and have been happier for it. Politically, most would describe me as very far to the left on most issues. I’ve stayed with the Volokh Conspiracy all these years because I still value good legal writing.

    1. What “completely unrelated field” did you jump into?

  24. I am a 73 year old retired Microelectronics (Computer chip) engineer mostly self taught with the assistance of some awfully smart co-workers. At the age of 42 I enrolled in college and double majored in Business Administration and Communications. Then at 55 earned my Masters in Information Technology. I enjoy RVing, my 1968 muscle car and fixing things. I am a conservative and vote for those who hold my views. I think the law is mostly BS managed by folks who draw their paycheck from the same trough. The law is too complicated for average Americans to understand and is often word smithed to get some political viewpoint enshrined. The law is also used to get the “not” out of “Thou shalt not”. If it was not mostly corrupt there would not be so many people practicing it.

    1. A lot of the complication of the law is not based on some conspiracy theory. It is based on the fact that it relies on a system of precedent, and it sometimes isn’t obvious how that precedent applies to resolve the current case (or if it does).

      Precedent is based on the very intuitive idea that like cases ought to be treated alike and is based on the rule of law value that the discretion of judges deciding cases ought to be limited by the principle of consistency with what has been decided before.

      The idea that lawyers are feeding at some sort of trough isn’t accurate. It is sometimes a hard job that can be stressful.

    2. Nicely said KJohn.

  25. Retired business guy who still has his hand in a couple of things, as a matter of interest, but much less than full time.

    Education is math undergrad, MBA, doctoral work (ABD) in finance and business (which means micro) economics.

    Began life as a software guy – remember Fortran and Cobol? – and moved into financial management. Actually learned to program on an IBM 1620.

    Politically liberal, obviously, but don’t think of myself as “leftist,” in that I respect what markets can do, and also know what the flaws are. Generally dislike ideology, left or right, as an attempt to avoid thinking.

    1. While I’m may not share your politics we do have in common learning to program on IBM 1620’s! Soon to retire as an astronomer for NASA. Very much appreciate the First and Second amendment activities on the blog. The conflict between privacy and 1st amendment rights is of particular interest. Very appreciative of blogs efforts promoting 2nd amendment though I’ve fired a gun only once in my life.

      1. Yep. That was quite a bit different than things are now. I remember it was a big deal when Fortran II (or IV?) came out and you could have IF statements that worked on logical expressions, instead of just testing a value for zero.

        Biggest difference, ISTM, is that programming was not really the discipline it is today – just something you sort of picked up.

    2. Markets are very good at some things and very bad at others.

      If people would start looking at markets as a tool (like a computer) rather than THE solution, we would be much better off. Like a computer, markets are remarkable and can be used to help solve a large number of problems. But, like a computer, there just something that you cannot compute.

      1. Problem is, no one has yet figured out how to manage markets. Many have tried, all have failed. Gubmints only wrap themselves in red tape and special interests, and usually worsen rather than improve markets. The old common law of England was actually much better at it, which is why it had to be destroyed in the name of graft and centralized power. But, thing is, you can’t kill the beast. Markets have always existed, and always will. They are just one way in which collective decisions are made — probably the most important way, actually.

        1. no one has yet figured out how to manage markets.

          I disagree, but my feeling is this thread is not the place to argue about political or philosophical differences, but rather a “get acquainted,” friendly exchange.

    3. Well, we have one thing in common – I’ve written Fortran 77 on punched cards. Can’t remember the model of the system anymore, but it was an NCR. I managed to avoid COBOL, though.

      1. I managed to avoid COBOL, though.

        Good work. It’s kind of boring, though that may be unfair, since applications it was used for were boring.

  26. Retired Combat Infantry. Software Engineer, focus in databases, architecture, open source. Would rather work on fenceline in the rain than deal with user issues, so I do. Glossophile. Early-onset curmudgeon and centrist.

  27. I’m a computer engineer by formal education, 20+ years of software development and management, former VC and currently a corporate development executive .
    I am a libertarian of the minarchist variety.

  28. Mostly a lurker here. Late 60s, still active surgeon. Hate the Millennial generation, but love my kids and the young docs I work with who are the best of it.
    Classical liberal, i.e., political conservative.
    I’ve seen the movie about the advanced society where only cops and military have guns, and did not like it at all (Schindler’s List).
    Very concerned about the country my grands will grow up in.
    Have never been shot at, at least not yet.

  29. Former MP and (briefly) a civilian cop. Did some IT work. Road a motorcycle for a living. Manufactured some stuff. Now a middle-aged writer living in Green Country. I grew up in SE Ohio, so absorbed a lot of conservative values. Then I joined an evangelical denomination, and that just made it worse. I started both deconversion journeys several years ago. I think I started reading VC occasionally for gun-related content, and then just followed you wherever you’ve been. I read a lot, but rarely comment.

    1. You know, one thing that is a pet peeve of mine.

      Civilian cops referring to non-police officers s civilians.

      They are civilians too!

      1. Prison guards, oops, I mean “correction officers”, do the same thing.

  30. Software engineer.

    Ph.D in Theoretical Chemistry from one of the Ivies. Chemistry undergrad with a minor in English (creative writing). I enjoy (or have enjoyed, as time permitted when I was younger) hiking, rock climbing, music (played trumpet), philosophy, writing, reading (mostly sci-fi/fantasy but more literature and history of late).

    I am fascinated by the law as a formal system. I continue to be dismayed that two appellate judges can read/interpret the same law and reach different conclusions. My gut says, “The law is imprecise and needs improvement,” but years of reading tell me why it’s not that simple. Some part of me still thinks it should be, though.

    1. Simple laws are easier to apply, but more difficult to fit into the complexity of human affairs.

      Also, and more explanatory, at least with our English common law tradition, the law involves a very difficult task. Reconciling judicial opinions written by people who were addressing similar but different problems and who may have disagreed with each other in certain respects.

      So, when you have a new case that comes along, often the question is whether it can be “distinguished” or not from a precedent that seems like it possibly applies. That is a question that calls for judgment.

      When you do the law in this way, it naturally becomes complex. Especially after, I don’t know, a few decades or a few centuries.

  31. Software engineer/architect

    Retired chief engineer for a medical device maker, now cyber-security consulting for medical devices. Multi-decade experience in medical and communications standards. Degrees in Mathematics and Meteorology. Originally involved with remote sensing, radar, and environmental technologies.

    I’ve long been interested in civil liberties issues. I also enjoy the similarities and differences between legal structures and standards.

  32. I grew up on a dairy farm in WI with highly educated parents. After being told my entire young life I was to be a doctor, or as a less respectable career as an attorney, I chose to study organ performance at Oberlin. I had too much interest in mechanics, construction, and architecture as well as performance, so I decided to build mechanical action pipe organs highly inspired by North European instruments from 1500 to 1800. I’ve been extremely lucky in my career as part of two companies and recently had the honor of being the first American builder to build an organ for a London church, and Handel’s church at that.
    To satisfy my interest in constitutional law I started following law blogs a couple decades ago. After George W. Bush was elected, I made a promise to myself to read equal amounts liberal and conservative news, and especially law. I finally sorted it out to two blogs— this one and that started by Michael Dorf. I’m a bleeding-heart liberal but being a businessperson for forty years has a mellowing effect.

    1. Valmont, we ought to meet up! Especially as my parents are also from WI. And your liberal/conservative news balance is something that I’ve tried to do also. Liberal: NPR, NYT, WaPo, SF Chronicle. Conservative: WSJ, First Things, Instapundit, Mark Steyn, and, um, these guys.

      1. “These guys” aren’t really conservative, in my opinion.

    2. I decided to build mechanical action pipe organs highly inspired by North European instruments from 1500 to 1800. I’ve been extremely lucky in my career as part of two companies and recently had the honor of being the first American builder to build an organ for a London church, and Handel’s church at that.

      Wow. As someone who had trouble putting model airplanes together as a kid I’m impressed.

    3. I am glad you followed your own path in life. That is something that can take courage. But it ultimately pays off.

      You live life precisely once. And the most valuable thing you have is your time. So, spend it well.

      Thank goodness we have people who are just naturally interested in medicine and law. But, this would be a sad world indeed if those were the only things people were interested in.

  33. I’m in my late 50’s with no College Degree. I’m employed in Shipping/Logistics for an International Manufacturer. I started reading this Blog back in 2009. I moved to the WaPo and now, am here. My favorite post was on committing the Perfect Murder in a National Park. I’ve sent story ideas to Eugene Volokh and, he has written about them. The Cussing Canoeist and the Michigan Law against, Seducing an Unmarried Woman, being two examples. The co-conspirators have some interesting insights as well.

  34. Co-owner of an electrical assembly business in Maine, 2nd generation family-owned.

    Long time political activist in the Libertarian Party, run for office several times and currently an elected member of my county budget committee up for reelection.

    Long time comic book fan, Apple computer enthusiast, avid blog reader (with a disproportionate number of law professors in my RSS reader), a former Toastmaster (ATM-B, CL), and more recently, an regular poker player (on pandemic enforced hiatus). I guess you can say my hobby is collecting hobbies.

  35. I have a PhD in Computer Science and over three decades of professional experience in software development and computer architecture. I became interested in law by following groklaw.net many years ago.

  36. Middle-aged Christian, father, academic physician, amateur photographer, and real estate investor

  37. I’m a senior tax professional in northern California, hoping to move away before the Democrats bankrupt the state more than they already have. Once registered Libertarian, I gave up on that party because of its unwillingness to purge itself of crazies. I distrust all major media, and got rid of my TV a decade ago. I am on some conservative social media sites, but never Twitter or Facebook.

    1. Distrusting media (as in, recognizing that ALL media is biased) is smart. Thinking that conservative media isn’t biased isn’t.

      In a world where there are more possible stories to report than hours in the day, bias is inevitable. Saying X should be reported by Y shouldn’t be always has been, and always will be, a judgment call.

      The main bias media of all types has is towards the superficial. Superficial news has a larger potential audience, since everyone already has the background to understand it.

      All this talk about the state of California going bankrupt is overblown. The real issue is what we want from the government and how will we pay for what we want.

  38. I am a 49 year old lifelong libertarian, mother of three, wife of one, daughter of a lawyer, a writer and victim of our government’s war on chronic pain sufferers. I look forward to the day we have our justice but realize I might king be dead when that happens…

    1. Are you referring to opiates and opioids? If so, I tentatively agree with you. Certain people decided we had a “crisis” and the predictable response was to bring in the criminal justice system.

      I am not supportive of the war on drugs as it exists now, much less expanding it. But, once again, you seem to have a bipartisan consensus.

  39. I’m a 68 year old hippy liberal, high tech veteran now teaching high school. I find half of what is written here to be silly (let go of the guns, already, you’ll be fine without them) and the other half interesting and thought-provoking.

    1. +1 but mid-50’s, still in high tech, volunteering in high schools.

    2. I am also a liberal. But my value system is that you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

      The idea that we should just blindly trust the government with EVERYTHING sounds incredibly bad. It is based on an “it can’t happen here” mentality that takes way too much for granted.

  40. Is my social security number sufficient, or do you need my banking PINs as well?

  41. I’m a 52-year-old mechanical engineer turned musicologist (both degrees from UC/Berkeley, the former undergraduate, the latter ABD), living in Salem, OR, with a libertarianish bent in politics and an interest in Constitutional law. I’ve been reading the VC daily for, I dunno, twenty-plus years.

    Prior to OR I lived a quarter century in the SF Bay Area, though never in SF itself. Volokh, Radley Balko, and Megan McArdle are among the handful of people keeping me sane these days. Prior to a recent arm injury that has made my left arm unusable for the nonce (actually, it was both arms, but the right underwent surgery pre-COVID and is in decent shape), I spent a lot of time playing freelance violin and viola; now it’s mainly classical record reviews. I’m married to an orchestra conductor and violinist/violist/cellist, who is currently teaching in a Salem-Keizer public high school.

    One thing I miss is Eugene’s occasional forays into puzzles (word, numerical, or other) and conundra. I suppose we are all of us preternaturally serious now.

  42. Alright, here goes nothing.

    I am a senior undergraduate studying chemical engineering and computer science with a weird esoteric interest in law, because I have a lot of weird esoteric interests. I have a bunch of legal ideas I can’t really do anything with because I have zero credentials. I started my college career as a fiscal conservative but increasingly I have become less economically conservative and more socially conservative … I guess one could say I have become much less libertarian as time goes on. Or more Trumpian, although I personally dislike the president and still believe in free trade / immigration.

    Despite my CS background and original libertarian beliefs, I think Stewart Baker is more right about most things than the civil libertarians.

    I am a Hindu, but have considered converting to Christianity, less due to beliefs and more … I am rather socially awkward (fit the description of a CS nerd pretty well) and the idea of being part of a religious community has always appealed to me. And also I have started to realize the value in having moral systems that modern liberalism can sometimes unravel.

    My parents are immigrants, I currently work from home for an engineering firm until my college figures out wtf it’s going to do about this coronavirus nonsense. I live in NJ. Despite my political beliefs and the fact that I literally volunteered for his opponent and will the next run … governor Murphy is a good guy.

    I love classic rock and that, along with some jazz, is pretty much all I listen to. I have the immense feeling of being lost in what I want to do right now the virus has done nothing to resolve. I am straight, not that it helps. I could probably write an algorithm that can take what I just wrote to de-anonomize me and find my name, at which point … at least I can be public about my beliefs.

    That’s who I am. Any questions?

    1. I have a question. Why do you feel the need to hide your beliefs from others?

      1. Well, I suppose there is a stigma against attaching your name to anything remotely socially conservative, even if that thing advances pluralism overall, which, ironically, is part of what amplifies those beliefs.

        1. Follow your brain. Look at all the highly educated techies posting above. I’m new here and I don’t blame you for keeping your thoughts to yourself. That’s your prerogative and having a self-preservation instinct will enable you to make it to the ripe old age of some of the posters here, or older. Secret ballot and all that. I’m new here but I keep coming back for the thought people put into their comments and the civility of the posters. Even when they’re insulting each other there’s an intellectual interest in the structure of the argument and I have been starved for that in other political arenas.

  43. Career military intelligence, currently pursuing my Doctor of Public Administration.

  44. I am a pharmaceutical representative with doctoral work in the neurosciences and pharmacology. I am an ultra runner who regularly climbs the podium for my age group. I am a conservative with libertarian leanings.

    1. LadyTheo, did you used to post as Theobromopihle (apologies if the spelling is a bit off)?

  45. Software sales guy for one of the world’s largest companies, published in technical journals, popular press, and books, trained as a theoretical mathematician, live right down the road from UCLA. Extremely interested in complex topics like this.

  46. First, in my 20s following a vote for Eugene McCarthy, came an intuition that free stuff was the wrong way.

    Next came Milton Friedman, and a concise statement of the intuition.

    Then came Clarence Thomas. He was a surprise, one which has never become less compelling, nor less trustworthy.

    Then, perhaps last (but time will tell), came Eugene Volokh.

    I thank all three.

    1. Apologies, it seems I can’t edit or even delete and start over again.

      I voted for George McGovern, not Eugene McCarthy.

  47. I’m an embedded software developer in his early 60s. I lean libertarian politically. Quite wide ranging interests, I’ll read just about anything other than “bodice ripper” romances. This has left me with a dangerous level of knowledge of many fields and an interest in reasoned debate.

  48. I’m a mathematician doing research in computability theory (my PhD is technically in logic which includes philosophy as well but practically you pick one or the other). Married to a woman who does philosophy of mathematics with no kids and no intention to have any (hence my constant irritation at the idea that those without children should subsidize non-needy parents child-care costs)

    1. When one of your main worries in life is “subsidizing” child-care costs, you basically are admitted you have no problems of significance.

      The horror. The horror. All that.

      Anyway, congratulations for being spoiled. It means we are doing something right in America.

  49. I’m an Associate Professor of Public Argument in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College of the City University of New York. I have a Ph.D. in Public Argument from Northwestern University, and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Communication Studies and a B.A. in Economics, both from the University of Virginia. Go Cavaliers! Although I’m not a lawyer, every year I teach a very large and very popular course in Communication Law and Free Speech. For that reason—and many others—I find the Volokh Conspiracy Blog absolutely indispensable. I encourage my students to become regular and lifelong readers of the blog, and I even put a link to it on my syllabus. I am heartened by the fact that at least some students appear to take my advice and continue reading the Volokh Conspiracy Blog even after they complete my course. Indeed, more than a few of my former students have reached out to me to ask what I thought about this or that post on the Volokh Conspiracy Blog. These students tend, disproportionately, to be the ones who earned “A”s in the class. I’m just saying….

    1. Students who like what you like earned tended to earn an A in class???

      Imagine that.

      I, for one, never thought that grades really meant much either.

  50. I work as a janitor at one of the most prestigious universities in the world but I feel that I’m smarter than everyone else. Sometimes there will be unfinished equations on the blackboard that the professors will have as a challenge to all their students and I’ll just secretly figure it out. For hobbies I like to drink with my buddies at the local bar and take the piss out of some of the pretentious graduate students. I’m not ashamed to admit I have a few trust issues but I’m working through them with the help of a quirky unconventional psychology professor from our local community college.

    1. Says Matt Damon a la Good Will Hunting! :o)

      1. More common than you might think — lots of stupid grad students, while some of the janitors are brighter than they realize.

        1. In general, human beings of all sorts are extremely intelligent. Including janitors.

          We like to make a big deal about the distinctions between ourselves, because we are naturally competitive and perceptions of greater intelligence is a status symbol. A sort of conspicuous consumption.

          Here is another fact. Really smart people do stupid things. It happens every day.

          1. Yes. I’m reminded of a committee of UMass professors in the late 1970s who came up with the bright idea of trying to pipe live steam 1.9 miles *downhill* and *then* trying to run it through turbines to generate electricity. Turbines do not like water droplets in the steam — they act like bullets and put holes in the blades. Etc…

            45 years later, UMass wound up tearing down the brand new power plant. Yep, really smart people can do some incredibly stupid things.

  51. Am a retired college biology professor. Hung out with econ/polisci/philosophy types in grad school, and so was exposed to the ideas of Friedman, Hayek, and the like. Cultivated classical liberal leanings. Am a strange hybrid of a libertarian/social conservative/environmentalist.

    As of late, communitarian ideas have crept into my thinking. With advancing age I have less certainty than I had when I was younger, about many things.

    Am married to a feminist, which (surprisingly) has not brought strains into the marriage (we don’t discuss politics).

    Have always loved legal reasoning; hence my daily reading of The Volokh Conspiracy.

    Whistling Willie

    1. The first rule of life in a family ought to be to allow people to think for themselves. Insistence that another person agree with your politics is a sort of domination.

      It is unfortunate that you can’t have conversations with your wife about politics, but it may be wise that you don’t. A good number of people are not well able to tolerate disagreement on issues they think are so fundamentally important.

  52. Former solicitor working in local government in England. Semi-retired eight years ago but still p/t as adviser to parish councils. They are the first tier of local govt here, electorates range from a hundred or so to over 20k. Interested in the interchange between law and politics. Must confess that some of the issues in the USA completely bambozzle me.

  53. I am a trained social psychologist and retired public employee with an extensive stint in international cooperation. Ever since undergraduate studies in the US in the late 60s, I am interested in US politics, and particularly in the constitutional set-up. As a socialist libertarian, I have been attracted to “sometimes contrarian”, “often libertarian” way before VC’s stint at he WaPo. I value the intellectual diligence and honesty which makes digesting particularly differing views such a pleasure.

  54. Farmer ( silviculture ). Former commercial fisherman. Hold a USCG license. Certified Prescribed Fire Manager ( Florida ). Hosted foreign exchange students for about 15 years. ( France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Latvia, Switzerland, China, Brazil……… )

    Adoptive parent(s). Something of a environmentalist, mostly because the economic value of a productive environment is impossible to not understand when you commercial fish……and farm.

    I hated being poor……spending almost the first 3 years of marriage in a house with no AC…..in Florida. Worked like hell to fix that situation. Along the way, most of that time standing in rubber boots and a apron behind the counter of our little fish market I learned the value of capitalism and enlightened self interest. Basically, if I was polite and gave good service people would return the same. And as seafood is an item with a high portion of immigrant/ethnic customers I quickly learned that almost all HUMANS respond to polite and honest dealings, therefor it was in my self interest to act accordingly.

    Why reading SCOUTS rulings is interesting to me, and why coming to VC……and Reason in general…….on a daily basis…..well…..I can’t say exactly why I find it important, but I know it is. Maybe it’s having access to the learning of those who’ve spent their efforts learning different things than I have.

  55. Good morning Professor. First, I appreciate all that you do and have done for Second Amendment advocates and activists through the years. It is through my 2A activism that I first became acquainted with your work.

    I am 71, retired since 47 y.o. in 1995 as a DoN nuclear test engineer with no academic degree. After retirement I attended a liberal arts college and learned all the things that I wanted to know, literature, maths, physics.

    My avocations have been; the full spectrum of mountaineering, auto racing, sailing, shooting, and now bicycling. My retirement therapist suggested, “Get on a bicycle and ride the mad away!”. Averaging 4000 miles per year for 25 years is a lot of miles. Now on a recumbent tricycle, we did a 400 mile trip last month.

    My politics are quite deplorable, most accusations are correct.

  56. Grad of W&M Law School, I left the practice of law to teach high school government and history. Now pursuing a Masters degree in history.

    1. Which have you found more meaningful, practicing law or teaching high school government and history?

  57. I am a retired/disabled MIllwright. My last job, that I got Lifeflighted out of, was at a surface mine in the Mojave Desert.

    I consider myself politically to be a Coolidge Republican. I voted Libertarian in the last election because both major POTUS candidates made my skin crawl.

  58. Dropped out of college when I decided it was a fraudulent and deceptive enterprise, peddling snake-oil they called ‘education’. Dad was an attorney and had a good library.

    1. People make both too much and too little out of college.

      Students generally get out of classes what they put in. You can get a whole lot out of a college education if you put your all into it.

      I am convinced that the way we do education is flawed. There should be more education focused on completing projects. Classes are fine, but what really matters is the process of learning how to learn. Also, a class that really helped you solve a problem you wanted to solve would automatically seem more relevant.

      Someone who knows how to learn on their own may not need college. Unfortunately, a lot of jobs out there focus on credentials because of a combination of (1) time constraints and (2) superficiality.

  59. I am a 75 year old retired law librarian. I started reading the Volokh conspiracy many years ago and while I often disagree with some of the contributors, I always learn something. I consider myself an independent conservative in the camp of no political party.

  60. I’m a theoretical mathematician (one MA in algebra another from a different school in Set theory). Currently in my early 40’s working as a director of a security focused software company. I’ve done some small amounts of cryptology and cryptography for my government (small country in Europe). Politically on the US spectrum I’m probably center left, in Europe decidedly right wing.

    I’ve been reading Volokh conspiracy since my time in the US (6 years starting about 14 years ago) and was always fascinated by both the US judicial system and the explanations of it here.

  61. Before all else: Thank you Professor Volokh for this blog. I have learned so much. The blogs are intellectually stimulating.

    Upper level management in a private, worldwide firm operating in 110 countries. I am in my mid-50’s, nominally a Conservative Jew, but tend toward ‘Conservadox’. Meaning, although I am a member of a Conservative shul, I daven with Chabad and Modern Orthodox when I can. Two grown children, and still with 1st wife after decades of marriage (unlike much of my relatively small social circle – what a sad commentary on modern marriage in America). I tend strongly toward libertarianism, which does not make me popular in shul! 🙂

    Professor Volokh, would you believe that I got turned on to VC by reading about it from a newpaper columnist, Paul Mulshine, of the Newark Star-Ledger over 10 years ago? Yeah, you can blame him.

    Favorite part of VC: Short Circuit! Love that. Ross has a lively sense of humor. I watch for anything from the Third Circuit!
    Second Favorite part of VC: ‘Deep dive’ legal analysis of SCOTUS decisions.
    Third favorite part of VC: Friendly jousting with the posters here, who I have found to be very sharp, and make you think through your positions. Some of the comments are truly hilarious, and make me laugh so hard I literally cry.

    Other stuff I do: gardening (backyard is coming along nicely with lots of flowers; next up, aeration and reseeding of lawns); backgammon (particularly, fevga – used to play in Bryant Park years ago); taking up python and r programming (for my ‘last act’ in employment).

    You have a great thing here, Professor Volokh.

  62. I worked for the Federal government doing everything from opening mail to computer systems testing and requirement management. Now retired and like to travel, although recent events have curtailed that a bit. Actually came to Libertarianism through science fiction, particularly Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and L. Neil Smith’s Probability Broach series.

  63. 49yo clinical anesthesiologist, MD/PhD in an academic medical center. (Why are all the doctors on here surgeons, anyhow?) Center-right; used to call myself a Republican until they all went insane. No professional connection to constitutional law, but I occasionally enjoy dropping fancy words from this blog onto my attorney brother-in-law.

  64. I am a 39 year old Cloud (IT) Engineer raised in Alabama, residing in Florida by way of a 6 year stint in the Marine Corp (enlisted). I’m married with 3 kids, 3 dogs and I’ve recently taken up backyard chicken farming which is quite enjoyable. While I thought I’d be a lawyer when reading all of Grishams early novels from my grandfather, life had different plans. I’ve never finished a complete undergraduate degree over the last 20 years, yet I’ve got enough college credits to amass a few, just not the right combination, yet.

    As far as political ideals, I prefer my Federal government to be lean and libertarian with government bodies closer to me taking on the local issues, with the state acting as a unifying local, not overriding body.

    The nuance of law intrigues me and I’ve appreciated your, and your co-bloggers, writings for quite a few years now. I can say that my ingestion of Law blogs has surpassed that of my technical blogs.

    1. That you have so many college credits without a degree illustrates how our systems for credentialing people are flawed. There ought to be a way for someone to sort out all of your work in a sensible away and properly acknowledge you for it. And the same could be said for those who gain useful knowledge outside of the classroom.

  65. Long time lurker. This blog is always packed with information which I sincerely appreciate. My wife and I spend our day in our small town private practice righting all sorts of private ills. Nothing earth shattering but it does matter to every misfortuned soul that comes through our office. We have two daughters entering their third year in their respective law schools. These two firebrands wear their title of “bitch” proudly. What is it about the lawyerly qualities we admire in men that when seen in women lawyers labels them “bitch”? Wear it proudly ladies! In my former life, I was in the Marine Corps and grew up an army brat.

    1. No, the “bitch” is not to be praised — a strong, assertive person does not have to be an A-hole. In fact, the fact that one*is* a strong & assertive person means that one doesn’t need to be an A-hole. One can use words like “please” and “thank you”, etc.

      1. I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t make myself clear. What I meant to say is that those qualities that in men make for an effective and zealous advocate when seen in women lawyers labels them as a bitch. I never used the term “A-hole” nor do I suggest such.

        1. This makes sense to me. Women might be labeled a b*tch for behavior that wouldn’t cause a man to be similarly labeled as an A-hole.

          That said, people shouldn’t take this idea too far, because A-holes do come in both genders.

          1. I’m puzzled by your generality and question what that has to do with a woman’s experience in the practice of law?

          2. That may be the case in legal fields, but my experience has been different. Over the years I’ve been exposed to the business side of technology firms, including software startups, and in tech, the business people are positively brutal (sure, painting with a broad brush, but I stand by the assessment). I’ve seen men called names far worse than anything I’ve ever heard women called, plus everything a woman might be called. Got tired enough of that kind of environment that I decided to be a self-employed consultant for years.

            I’m fortunate now to be employed in a place where the employees, including company leadership, treat people like human beings with genuine care. YMMV.

            1. What I am talking about is more subtle. I understand the rough and tumble world of corporate America. I’m talking about a young lady standing toe-to-toe with a paternalistic figure and the consoling pat on the head that gently reminds her how things are really done around here. She should know her place. To her face she is “deary” or “sweetie” but behind her back in conversation with other male attys she is a bitch, simply because she is confident, knowledgeable and not intimidated. It was much worse 35 years ago when my wife started practicing and now with my daughters who have just started to get their feet wet, I still see it. Frankly, I don’t stand for it. The practice of law is very visceral particularly in family related fields like criminal law, divorce, custody, wills and estates, family business matters. There is always an emotional component underlying the black and white of facts and law. That component always surprises young lawyers. But, that’s just my experience.

              1. No argument from me – I have zero experience working with attorneys, so have no direct knowledge of that. I merely posit that the experiences you and David Welker have described in that arena may not be broadly representative.

  66. I’m a PhD in High Energy Physics now working in the defense industry. Mostly conservative, though not Republican and even less so now. I lean libertarian, believing the government needs to stay out of most things, even if I don’t like that thing. I’m much more progressive in terms of the environment, but think private property owners are owed compensation for the restrictions place upon them. Market wise, I’m very much free market oriented, including letting firms employing thousands go out of business if they made a misstep. I’m generally in favor of both more and less regulation of the financial sector, believing the government needs to aggressively enforce a level playing field between large and small players, but keep regulations simple enough that rent seeking becomes very difficult to effectively impossible. Thanks for the great reading over the years.

    1. Here is the thing I don’t get.

      Regulations decrease the choices of all people. Another way to say that, is the regulations infringe on the liberty of all people.

      I am not seeing a special case for compensating property interests but not liberty interests. I think liberty is at least as important as property. (Actually, more important, since without liberty, property has much less value, just as without life, liberty has no value. But I digress.)

      Isn’t the basic conceptual flaw of slavery being the move to value property more highly or equally highly with liberty? Or am I missing something?

      1. The foundation of property rights is self ownership. I own myself, so the fruits of my labor belong to me. If that is the case, how can one man own another?

  67. Mechanical engineer now, but my college education was in computer engineering and human biology. (Had to drop out in my senior year to nurse my mother back to health after a bad auto accident. Became the mechanical engineer by apprenticeship.)

    I used to be a Libertarian party activist, but gave up on it in the late 90’s after concluding that campaign ‘reforms’ had rendered 3rd parties in America futile, and that futility had caused the LP to be a refuge for cranks and grifters.

    These days I mostly busy myself with hobby robotics and home brewing mead, when I have time out from helping raise our son.

    1. I also home brew mead. It’s like making beer, but easy.

  68. Political science instructor at a community college in central Washington (state). My American Government class focuses on shared values coming out of the traditions of liberalism and republicanism and tracing them through the key documents.

    I lean progressive, but most of my students are Republican (I hesitate to say conservative). It’s important for me to present accurate reflections of constitutional interpretation from multiple perspectives.

  69. I am a IT Systems Engineer in the Oil and Gas Industry. I was in the US Army as an Infantryman for 10 years in my past life.

  70. I’m 65 years young. Took a golden parachute retirement a few years ago from a large high-tech firm that didn’t want to pay those pesky dinosaurs for all their experience. It hasn’t gone well after we all left. Job was a blast, traveled the world, helped write standards and specifications, and generally changed the computing world with a few of my ideas and those of fellow travelers.
    Navy brat so got an interesting education in moving and life. Started a bit liberal but moved to conservative. I don’t think i’ve changed but certainly feel that neither major party comes close to my views. Now registered independent. As stated above if the libertarians weren’t on dope and running naked i’d likely vote for their candidate.
    I’ve been following this blog from right around the beginning. Rarely comment but it’s on my feedly feed and read almost every article every day.

  71. I served 20 years as a USAF KC-135 boom operator (hence the username), earned a degree in adult education while serving, then went into technical writing for nearly two decades. My 20 years of military service entitles me to a modest pension and healthcare for life for me and my spouse (the real payoff for career veterans). My spouse is in the medical industry, and is the real bread winner. Consequently, I no longer work for pay. Instead, I’ve taken a supporting role in the financial side of the relationship, becoming a jack of all trades. I maintain the vehicles and the house, performing all required maintenance and repairs (thank you YouTube). In addition, I built an airplane (from a kit) that we use for personal travel.

    I am a voracious reader, music lover (I am an amateur musician), and consumer of contemporary entertainment (hello YouTube). I have been a classical liberal for as long as I can remember, with my political views shaped in my early teens by authors ranging from Louis L’Amour to Isaac Asimov, then solidified when my Dad tossed me out on my ear at age 18–his motto was make it or break it, but whatever happens is your own damn fault.

    My interest in the law is largely the result of an intense longing for the world to make some fucking sense, coupled with my love of a good debate. I also hugely enjoyed a mock court in high school, organized by a social studies teacher wherein I, as the defense counsel, was successful in having the prosecution’s expert testimony tossed (the kid giving it couldn’t keep his story straight).

    This blog satisfies both my interest in law, and my enjoyment of a well-written argument, and I thank you for that!

  72. Was retired from the news biz after 31 years as a reporter, editor and middle manager at a community newspaper owned by a big chain.
    I’m approaching 70, but I edit papers for engineering professors before they submit them for publication (word use, grammar, and organization, not science), ask people about their experiences with crime for the Census Bureau, and, if there were a minor league baseball season, act as an usher for my local team.
    My life has been fortunate in so many ways. One of the things that I am so grateful for is that I have almost always only done things that interest me.

  73. I am a Ph. D. in Economics, substantial publications and teaching experience in major universities. I have an abiding interest in the Constitution, respect to consistency and opposition to hypocrisy. I think we need a vibrant conservative community, not one that selects its position based on whether or not the policy is put forth by a Republican or Democrat. I think the Constitution means what it says that the President cannot raise taxes, cannot take the nation to war, cannot spend money that is not appropriated by Congress and can only do those things the Constitution allows. I also think the Congress cannot delegate Constitutional powers to the Executive branch.

  74. I’m a 46 year old software developer with two kids, 2 dogs, 2 houses, and two cars. I lean left socially and center economically. I am not an atheist but do not subscribe to any organized religion. I was born in the south but now live in New England. My wife is a professor. I’m former army, worked in education, private sector, and government. I own crypto and stocks. I subscribe to the site through newsblur where I follow bunch of sites/blogs/organizations daily.

  75. Retired Municipal Worker, IT executive, and life long interest in politics and economics. “Conservatarian” in viewpoint.

  76. I supervise what amounts to the complaint department for water quality issues in Los Angeles.
    I’m Chairman of the Board for the local science-fiction society.
    I’m quite a fan of Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, and read a fair bit on economics in general.
    I am currently doing battle with a bone marrow cancer, and have a stem cell transplant scheduled for August 3.

    1. God bless you, and I wish you the best of health!

    2. I am not in agreement with Thomas Sowell on quite a few issues. But I respect him as an original thinker. We need more of that, not less.

      Good luck with the stem cell transplant!

    3. Good Luck, Karl. May God send you ‘refuah sh’leimah’ – a complete healing of body and spirit.

    4. G-d speed on the HSCT. Autologous? Multiple myeloma? (I work in pharma–acute leukemias and CML.). Lots of good docs there in LA–as you already know, you are in capable hands.

  77. Budget Officer for an Inspector General’s office in DC. Worked in the leg branch for a while, always been interested in the law. Been following the Conspiracy since the early ’00’s; discovered you via a link from the Blogfather (Glen). I miss the baseball discussions. I have a daughter embarking on her college career who aspires to be an attorney, generally interested in con law. I’ve directed her to your site and shared with her the posts for 1L’s.

  78. Socially conservative educator (Teacher Education & School Improvement) currently recovering from a broken neck. Spent 30 years on the front lines of the campus culture wars, once dropped a copy of _Cohen v. Calif_ on a Dean’s desk (was defending an undergrad). Seen a *lot* of Kampus Krazyness.

    Came across the VC in academic freedom/free speech issues.
    Blue collar background, my driver’s license says “any vehicle.”

  79. Thank you for asking, Professor. I’m a middle-boomer-aged electronics design engineer and small company VP. In my father’s and my grandfather’s generations, I’d already be happily retired and on a pension by now, but instead I’m still scrapping away in the California high-tech business (with no retirement day in sight.)
    Your blog is an island of intelligence and adult conversation in an Internet world of mostly loud voices screaming noise. Plus, it fulfills my inner-alter-ego’s desire to practice con-law, which on many days I wished I’d pursued rather than tech.
    Thanks, again.

  80. I’m a computer programmer, 59 years old, married to same, with a son who is 20 and seems to be going into the family business too. I have voted for Democrats for every office (including Michael Bloomberg for mayor, because he was always a Democrat no matter what he might have been pretending) since Reagan’s second term. I am liberal in the sense that I want governments to do lots of important things – health insurance, schools, police – and not mandate social behaviors, but I have zero tolerance for political correctness and inability to face truth in favor of pleasing lies. I tend to get banned from websites of all persuasions because I like to argue with everyone’s preconceived views. I’m never wrong 🙂 I’m a non-practicing atheist. That is, I was raised Orthodox Jewish, and now practice Conservative Judaism with Orthodox leanings, despite the fact that gods don’t exist, because this is my community, and my wife believes. I’m pro-death in all respects, being in favor of capital punishment, voluntary euthanasia, and abortion on demand. I believe in the scientific method, and also believe that it’s easy for people to get science wrong and make it seem to support their pet theories. I have a libertarian outlook when it comes to liberty issues like speech and business, which is what I think drew me to VC long ago. I think Citizens United was correctly decided. I think tech companies should provide platforms and the means for people to set up affinity groups to control what is presented to those groups, and not be forced to pick and choose content themselves. I despise copyrights and patents and am mildly tolerant of trademarks.

    1. “I believe in the scientific method”

      Does anyone else see the irony in this remark?

      It’s like saying it’s bad luck to be superstitious.

      1. George Orwell wrote:

        A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible.

        I believe in the scientific method, is a great example of the progression from foolish language to foolish thought and I would assert is a leading cause of the authors next observation, it’s easy for people to get science wrong and make it seem to support their pet theories. The scientific method is supposed to preclude belief. Introducing belief, faith, bias or prejudice into a scientific inquiry invalidates the results.

        Personally, I would go with ‘I support the scientific method as the primary means of establishing causation.’ Dry, but direct.

        1. You might want to read a little more, say, Hume and a little less Orwell re: the philosophy of science before you make such dismissive remarks in the future…A charitable reading of ‘I believe in the scientific method’ is ‘I accept as true that the scientific method yields the best results of methods/approaches to knowledge’ and/or ‘I’m willing to bet that the conclusions of the scientific community are a better bet at being true than alternatives,’ and there’s nothing wrong with either.

          1. Right.

            Plus, my impression was that this thread is intended to be more or less a DMZ.

            1. It seems that the internet is never a DMZ

        2. It took me quite some time until I realized that the scientific method in the end needs some sort of belief. Even mathematics, underpinning most scientific results, as Goedel told us, is incomplete. Hence, you cannot ESTABLISH once and for all causation. At best, you may establish that FOR THE TIME BEING a certain hypothesis seems to marshal the best evidence for truth but the metrics applied to measure “best” are themselves rather woolly. I sometimes wonder if those metrics have only been contemplated in order to combat Feyerabend’s thesis of “anything goes.”

  81. Retired former fed govt trial lawyer (32 years and +150 trials) and senior manager at independent alphabet agency. Then on to an academic second career teaching college (graduate and undergraduate classes, including constitutional law). Now totally retired from that as of last June. I made flagrant use of your First Amendment text in my classes.

  82. MSc in Math (topology, logic),
    engineer/software developer now retired.
    Late 50s.
    Former Libertarian (voted for David Koch for VP in ’80)
    Former Republican (Nixon, Ford, although too young to vote yet)
    Left those behind when I became an adult, although I retain a strong libertarian streak.
    Have read the VC since almost the beginning. Don’t bother with the comments much anymore – too much of a partisan food-fight – but the main articles are thought provoking even when I disagree.

  83. I’m a 50 year old white male math teacher. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and teach at an independent middle school. I hold a National Board teaching credential, and am in my 20th year as an educator.
    I’m pretty active politically, and I consider myself a democratic socialist. However I’m also a patriot and understand that we’re going to make a lot more progress with the likes of Obama and Hillary than Bernie. I appreciate reasoned arguments and having my beliefs challenged by thoughtful people. I also appreciate your critiq

    1. Sorry, it’s become my hobby horse recently although it intrigued me already more than half a century ago when first coming to the US. Are you sure you are a democratic socialist rather than a social democrat? I’d hold that if terms should have any meaning, a democratic socialist upholds the idea of an economy where ownership of the means of production is held collectively, either by cooperatives or by society as a whole. OTH social democrats accept private ownership of capital while trying to mitigate any of its adverse effects.

  84. I’m a 50 year old white male math teacher. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and teach at an independent middle school. I hold a National Board teaching credential, and am in my 20th year as an educator.
    I’m pretty active politically, and I consider myself a democratic socialist. However I’m also a patriot and understand that we’re going to make a lot more progress with the likes of Obama and Hillary than Bernie. I appreciate reasoned arguments and having my beliefs challenged by thoughtful people. I also appreciate your critique of the courts, the justice system, and your work with civil liberties.

  85. Immigrated from the USSR in 1988, made a home here. Interest in Jewish law led to (amateur) interest in US constitutional law, which this blog feeds. Father of six, grandfather of two. CPA, MBA, investment accountant. More libertarian than anything else, but don’t pigeonhole easily.

  86. Think I’ve answered this before, but if not, economics professor, UCLA Ph.D., Gary Schwartz and Richard Sander were my two non-economics dissertation-committee members.

  87. Retired corrections officer, grandfather and great-grandfather, Vietnam veteran and retired military, active in Libertarian politics.

  88. PhD in Poli-Sci; was career military before going back to school and now working as an analyst for a unit of local government.

  89. Currently a full time online MS student in computer science after ten years programming. Often contrarian, sometimes libertarian. Programming for fun. Volunteer at the local food bank.

  90. I’m a software engineer living in the Chicago suburbs. I also have a somewhat lapsed blog. Libertarian-leaning, with an interest in criminal justice and how to make it better. Strong supporter of free speech. Been following you folks since the earliest days of the blogosphere.

  91. I’m a retired Air Force pilot and currently an airline pilot. I interacted with Reason a lot when I had a desk job, and I remember them often citing your articles. When the blog moved here and I could get it as part of my existing Reason RSS subscription, I started reading every article. I’ve had a long term interest in law and enjoy reading your blog’s general support of upholding rights and discouraging qualified immunity, for example.

  92. 79 year old liberal, retired government bureaucrat (USDA). Raised on a farm, living in Reston. I forget when I started following you, perhaps 10-12 years ago, because I wanted to see what mostly intelligent, mostly conservative professors might think. 🙂

  93. Linguist, retired, who has worked abroad for faith-based NGOs. Conservative politics with a libertarian streak.

  94. I’m a retired computer programmer who lives half the year in my off the grid cabin (house really, it’s 2300sqft) that I designed and built myself.

    The other half the year when the snow is too deep I travel, mostly in SE Asia. My wife is Cambodian so we spend a fair amount of time there, but also Thailand.

    I’m interested in a lot of the libertarian free market principles that affect the third world, take fracking for example which has cut energy costs dramatically for people who can afford it least. Especially LPG, which the US leads the world in exporting has taken over most fuel market in Thailand for long haul trucking and intercity passenger vans, it’s cheaper, reduces pollution, and even reduces CO2. It’s also being used more and more for home cooking fuel replacing wood and kerosene which cause 4 million deaths a year from lung deseases, yet the left wants to end it and the quality of life improvements it’s making globally, especially in the third world.

  95. I am in my early 40’s, right of center, more libertarian than anything else at this point. I have worked in IT and telecom, as well as a few other industries here and there. I’m currently a stay at home father of 4 and getting into woodworking of late.

  96. PhD in philosophy and history, teach ethics, political theory, environmental policy, environmental history, and philosophy of science at the college level. Lean libertarian and enjoy reading about law and policy.

  97. I am a research physicist, scientific journal editor, and adjunct faculty member in the physics department of a leading research university. I am also senior principal in a firm that specializes in enterprise legal risk management especially in an international IT context. I’ve been at member of the ABA Cybercrime Committee and written chapters for three large ABA books.

  98. I’m a retired IT executive now in my 70’s, Marine, and once upon a time, a wannabe lawyer. There’s a strong conservative streak seasoned with a twist of libertarian thought. I enjoy reading The Volokh Conspiracy for the legal news and views. In my spare time I hideaway in my basement office where it’s cool and quiet with my library of some 14K books.

  99. Farmer, Agriculture sales and service, Married two kids 6 grand kids. Always interested in law and government. Conservative in the, “smallest government closest to the people” way. Govt has its place, but almost all levels are operating outside their lane, building their own fiefdoms. DC is the worst of course. Judges are operating outside their lane also, lots of things judges rule on should be decided by the people closest to the issue, ie abortion. Judges should defer to the elected to provide solutions…then let the solutions stand. Until new elected people are put in place to change things.

  100. I am a HS history teacher in middle America. I have degrees n PoliSci and History Ed. My personal focus has always been on political philosophy rather than “the game” of politics or the technical stuff “three branches, what is a PAC, etc.”.

    For the past 6 or so years I have been heavily interested in economics, particularly Austrian as it “makes sense” in that it is descriptive of life as lived rather than an attempt to quantify things we inherently know can’t be.

    Grew up fairly conservative. Was the chair for my college chapter of College Republicans. But over the last 20 years I became disillusioned with the hypocrisy and contradictions between modern policy ideology (by both parties) and the plain letter of the Constitution and the Enlightenment ideals therein. When people like Jefferson explicitly wrote in letters and journals what they ment by their ideas but those explanations were ignored for… whatever reasoning… it made me feel cheated by the American government system. That is when I began moving to libertarianism consciously (there had been an inherent pull that way my whole life… I just didn’t know it). Then as I studied it I kept struggling with the same moral conundrums of our current system and natural rights and have since become an ancap (but would happily live in a minarchist or even robust libertarian environment if given the chance).

    I also love hockey despite living in Oklahoma my whole life. And video games. Married for 15 years to the greatest women I have ever met.

  101. I’m an MD/PhD dual-degree student, with a focus in biophysics. I got interested in legal analysis a few years back by reading SCOTUS opinions. I started following this blog as a companion to help me digest them, but I’ve come to appreciate the other posts here. Politically, I’m pretty solidly libertarian/minarchist, but I tend to care more about judges following principled rule of law than necessarily achieving my personal political goals.

  102. Boomer Architect New Orleasn resident, licensed in 11 states. I’ve worked for and with lawyers, including some expert stuff.

  103. Nearly retired executive in a management consulting firm.

    Former soldier, private (Commo/Intel), SGT (Drill), regular Army officer (Armor / Ops Research)
    Combat Vet, Vietnam. Sat GW1 out in the Pentagon

    Started College as a CHEM E, after Nam, finished in Econ, or avoid starting over. MBA (OR). All from various UC (Davis, UCLA, UCI)

    Born in Chico CA, spent 30 years in DC, now on the Oregon coast.

    Libertarian mostly. But with a Nat Sec / Law and order streak. Pro-Israel, pro-BoR.

  104. I am a PhD Nuclear Engineer/Physics with a hobby level interest in law, and an avid SCOTUS watcher.

  105. I am retired statistician who is interested in free speech issues. I am also now a geology major.

  106. 65 year old who has been working in the litigation support/legal technology industry for the last 10 years. Worked mostly as an accountant. No degree, just lots of hours in math, chemistry and philosophy.
    “Anarchy, State and Utopia” was the inspiration for my study of political/legal philosophy.
    Got a question, do law schools teach anything about e-discovery?

  107. – Was a kid. Went to government primary school. Learned teachers were often mean.
    – Parent died.
    – Went to government secondary school. Learned administrators cared about their authority and not about the students.
    – When school wasn’t wasting my time, learned to write computer software on microcomputers.
    – Went to college. Chose a bad major: computer science. Lonely, cold, seemingly pointless. Math and physics were ok.
    – Quit school to start a business. Learned many things about business being hard and success requiring non-technical abilities. Learned the government was like a constant, nagging pack of dogs, always trying to make things worse every day.
    – Other parent died.
    – Was fat from childhood health problems. Learned to never listen to diet advice. Lost 120 pounds.
    – Quit business. Got a software development job. It was ok. People were nice. No government nags.
    – Joined venture funded startup. It failed. Learned not to buy startup stock.
    – Helped a couple of friends launch careers. Helping people is enjoyable.
    – Got an engineering job at a hardware startup. Engineers are nice. It failed.
    – More engineering jobs. They’re good. Pay is good. Learned that opportunity is limited if no one ever helps you out — especially if you’re not diverse. Learned that HR wants boxes checked, doesn’t care about excellent work.
    – Limited opportunity elsewhere led me to learn to trade stocks. No HR, no bosses, no customers, government not a threat. I’m successful at it. Not quite wealthy yet, but money not an issue. Wealthy soon.

  108. I’m a software engineer by training (MS Computer Science from Stanford, SB Computer Science from MIT–they use SB for some reason). I worked for 20+ years as a software engineer and software engineering manager, but now I work at a tech giant as a technical advisor on litigation, usually IP litigation. I’ve been reading volokh conspiracy for more than 10 years, as I was very interested in constitutional law well before I became involved in IP law.

  109. Social scientist, mostly industry but some teaching as well. Bored silly by extremists of any persuasion.

  110. Me? Just a schlub who used to read the BBS archives of FirearmsResearchProfessors or some such title. Once, having gotten a 1st Class UG from DC home, I was reading Volokh Conspiracy on my iPad when the fellow next to me inquired my interest. He seemed thoroughly befuddled that anyone other than a lawyer would read the Blog. That was back when it was less prone to excessive belligerent posts, mind you. Common Citizen interested in Constitutional Law? Shudder…

  111. I’m 83 and a retired Electrical Engineer, 25 years and 16 days, but who’s counting? BS in Physics from Cal Berkeley, 2nd BS in EE and an MSEE from U of Washington. I enjoy reading the Conspiracy. I’m a Conservative with a special interest in the 2nd Amendment.

  112. I am a retired medical school professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology who discovered the Volokh site when Clinton began his efforts to sue gun manufacturers . I began reading Constitutional law blogs and publications by law professors such as Laurence Tribe, William Van Alstyne, Volokh, and others. I discovered Volokh’s site (GunScholar.org), was very impressed, and have been reading ever since. I am interested in constitutional law, not just Second Amendment law.
    Original login was JSpizias (I was a JayHawk prof).

    Original log in was JSpizias. An error was made in translation during the movement of the blog.

  113. A systems engineer with an MBA who is a science/math person at heart, I am more liberal than most VCers. I appreciate the quality writing by the bloggers and by some of the commenters, the intellectual energy, and the sometimes-persuasive arguments. I remember wishing years ago that VC had more bloggers like Eugene and fewer like Zywicki; I’m pleased with the progress.

    1. I miss Zywicki. He was as good a target as one could desire.

      1. Well I certainly don’t desire a better one.

  114. I am British, early 40s. Been reading Volokh Conspiracy since quite early on (late ’02 or early ’03 iirc) on and off, following a US friend of mine. This means, in some areas certainly, I have a better understanding of US law than the law of my own country (though it has also helped stimulate an interest in UK law too).

    Reading VC over that time period has given me a somewhat jumbled view of US law though, so my Xmas present to myself last year was Randy and Josh’s 100 Supreme Court cases, which I have been and am enjoying very much.

  115. British professor (business school), author and journalist living in New York.
    Write a political column and books on PR, crisis, social media and ethics.

  116. In rough order of personal significance: father of four, two still in college for whatever that will mean this fall, husband, scoutmaster, and chemical engineer who went on to study medicine, entering the field of anesthesiology and chronic pain.

    I had a chance meeting with Allan Bakke through friends at Mayo years ago before he retired. He too was an engineer turned physician anesthesiologist. I cannot fathom being a resident physician in that era in his late 40’s as he did because California cost him a decade.

  117. I live and grew up in Puyallup, WA. My favorite activity is taking natural history classes such as spending two weeks in Bynum, MT learning about dinosaurs. Majored in Spanish in College, but not sure why as I have enough problems speaking English. ccupation: Investigator – I conduct the security background checks for people in the military. My libertarian leanings began 20 years ago when I began reading the works of Albert Nock and those who influenced him such as Franz Oppenheimer, Henry George and Lysander Spooner. Three of of my favorite books are the Crime of Punishment by Karl Menninger, The Interrogator by
    Raymond Toliver and My Antonia by Willa Cather. The only other blog I read is Marginal Revolution. God’s in heaven, it is finally sunny in Puyallup, so all is right with the world, until winter, that

  118. I’m 71, recently retired. I’m one of those who specializes in a legally related field, comes to know more about my slice than most lawyers, and is (was, I guess) often mistaken for a lawyer. In my case this is management of guardianships, trusts, and estates, mostly court appointments.

    Politics is broken, The presidency is broken, Congress is broken, journalism is broken, citizenship even is broken, the only part of our country that pretty much still works is the judicial branch. I have known many lawyers, and they are the most honest people as a group I know. I have only a few times experienced a judge who failed to live up to the honorific, “Your Honor”. That’s why I read VC.

    I vote for democrats without enthusiasm. I can’t imagine what people who vote republican these days are thinking. I’d love to know the end state libertarians postulate, but I doubt it would turn out well. I’m optimistic about the future.

  119. Professional engineer (mechanical), Army veteran, late 30s, father of 2.5. Minarchist.

  120. Ships Chandler, mid 50’s in Australia. Did some units of Constitutional History and Philosophy at University. Active in the Liberal Party (which is approximately Republican equivalent) – did intern with RNC in 1990! Classical liberal in orientation and am the only Liberal Party member of the committee of our state council of civil liberties. IT and health privacy is my interest along with sidelights from running a business (contract/property etc). Father and Grandfather both repeatedly stated – ‘you may to have an interest in government, but government has an interest in you – keep a weather eye on what it’s up to’.

  121. A software developer from Helsinki, Finland, formerly from the Boston area and even more formerly from St. Petersburg. 48. I have always been interested in law. Been reading VC for about 15 years now, on and off. Politically, kind of a right-wing liberal.

  122. I am a retired petroleum geoscientist who is interested in the law. I tend to be conservative and have been reading VC for almost 20 years.

  123. I’m a licensed professional counselor specialized in domestic violence, working the desert southwest for the department of defense. I read this and a couple other legal sites for actual informed commentary of legal cases of the day, as I find the news of all sides gives incredibly shallow reading of court cases. Honestly, most stories on legal issues of the day seem to be prime examples of “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

  124. I am an Electrical Engineer involved in manufacturing of passive electrical equipment. I am 63 with no plans to retire. Since I am the one in the room who will always argue the other side (any other side) i like you take on things. It examines the depth of the issues.

  125. Just an ordinary guy who loves God, my family, and my country.

  126. Quite the impressive group. I’m just a middle class guy with an interest in law. Stumbled across this blog many years ago and found it compelling reading. I work as a machine operator in the paper industry (surprise! living in WI, right?)

    My past includes almost 13 years in prison, almost 11 of that in max security (for good reasons). This tends to give me a much different perspective on LEOs and police policy than the average commenter. Haven’t had a cause to be arrested since 82 except for the occasional speeding ticket which are justified as I have a serious lead foot. Love hard rock like Zepplin and old blues like Lightening Hopkins and Billie Holiday. Also guitarists like Roy Buchanon. Also like classic country and some classic music. Absolutely cannot believe the speed and precision of Tiffany Poon.

    My posts tend to contain typing errors from a combination of lack of proof reading prior to posting and fat fingers. My typing technique is less hunt and peck and more search and destroy.

  127. Middle-aged software developer. Former Army Reservist, business owner (software startup), self-employed IT consultant and contract software developer. When I’m not learning more about the software field in my off-hours (yeah, I’m a workaholic), I bicycle, consume sci-fi, write curmudgeonly posts on reason.com, and spend time with old friends (I’ve been quite fortunate in the area of friendship). I’m mostly libertarian in my political and economic views, and a 2nd Amendment absolutist. I’ve come to abhor Marxism.

    Developing an amateur interest in law and the Constitution was largely two-pronged. My mom was an NRA member, thus the early interest in 2A issues. Much later, as an IT consultant and business owner, I had to get my hands dirty (no offense intended) with contract law, and of course the software field is impacted by IP law. The 1A cases involving source code implementing DeCSS algorithms on t-shirts further broadened my interest in Constitutional law. Laws involving restrictions on encryption along with my increasing libertarian views also drove my interest in law, as well as the proper limits of government power.

    Reluctantly divorced after a long marriage, and not planning on another relationship any time soon. No kids, just pets. Finally, I’m an atheist living in the Midwest, which sometimes feels like how I imagine an octopus would feel living in Death Valley.

    1. Reluctantly divorced? therationalmale.com is your new friend.

      1. Heh, thanks.

        It was complicated, as it often is. Without getting into needless detail, things likely could have been worked through, but she lacked the commitment, and I lacked the endurance. I’m happier now, but I dislike not having kept a very serious commitment.


  128. Mid-40s, mom of two. BA in math, took ten years. Freshman year
    spent reading Edward Abbey. Dropped out, went back for physics, instead read TE Lawrence. After graduation, tried grad school, dropped out. Drove a truck and saw more of the country. Settled down to a short-lived marriage, now a happy single parent. Tried for years to make it as a lefty but I think I asked too many questions, was usually seen as an informer, which was not the truth. Lived in both red and blue communities and states. Quit facebook long ago but read twitter. Political and economic viewpoint under construction. Interest in transfer of knowledge between generations. Terrible computer programmer. My kids say I’m mean; I prefer “accurate.” I have distrust of modern social movements while supporting many of the left’s stated goals (if not the unstated ones) and I have trouble living with this contradiction. Here for the learning and the dialogue.

  129. Professor, Electrical Engineering.

  130. I am a retired power engineer, a pilot, a blue-water cruising sailor, a TED talker, former firefighter, carney, and exterminator.

    Many times in my life I wished that I had both a law and an engineering degree. Oh well, too late now.

    I really hate the Talmudic approach to adjudication using many layered analogies to prolong the life of old precedents, so if i had a law degree I’m sure that I would have been a troublemaker.

    1. You need to run a spellchecker. Annorlunda has two n’s. How’s that for a pilpul?

  131. Trained as a (PhD) philologist/historical linguist (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Penn, Cambridge, Cornell), in other words one devoted to the sympathetic assessment of historical evidence as that is manifested in language; work in the midwest as a university librarian and lexicographer of medieval English. Driven by a need to sort coherence out of chaos, and to open unfiltered primary sources to a wide readership. Also collect hand tools and serve as a regional director for the country’s largest tool-collecting club. My theology belongs to the 17th century, my taste in tools to the late 19th and early 20th, and in politics I’m probably an 18th-century Scottish Whig. I’ve been reading the Conspiracy for a long time in admiration of clear thought clearly expressed. Recently also joined the Federalist Society.

  132. Career law clerk for state Supreme Court Justice.

  133. I am a ret’d economist, exited academia and spent most of my career in and out of FG in DC btw various departments and think tanks while trying to preserve my sanity. I am an immigrant from Europe, but born libertarian. My main interest is in public choice theory, and my heroes are in the Wicksell, Hayek, Buchanan, and Arrow tradition. In legal matters, I admire people like Clarence Thomas, Richard Epstein, and Orrin Kerr. I now live in one of the most crazed out-of-control progressive cities in the US — not counting DC, of course.

  134. Fintech executive (senior level). 30s. Married with children. Liberal. Against arbitrary laws and enforcement. Fan of constitution, constraints on government power. Don’t identify as Libertarian; most are hypocrites. Fan of the few liberals here. Drop by occasionally to see the very best the right has to offer, and am never impressed.

  135. Retired midwestern surgeon & card carrying Libertarian, also a great grandfather & avid biker. Thought I’d learn to speak a foreign language, just for fun, now that I have the time. Chose legalese. Your column allows a comfortable balance of immersive and Montessori methods. Thanks

  136. Factory worker, Autodidact, sometime entrepreneur, Rothbardian AnCap. Pops was chair of a hard science dept at a big 10 uni. Inherited curiosity from him. Spent some time with some (what I call) the wacko patriot militia types and got curious about law, didn’t see what was so freakin’ hard about it, fought a couple of traffic tickets, won one.

  137. I work as a union rep for public employees. I think I discovered Reason and the VC in the run up to the Janus decision.

  138. Retired Chicago Advertising Executive and Vietnam Veteran. NRA and Illinois State Police Certified Instructor for Concealed Carry and “First Shots” (since Illinois finally legalized Concealed Carry in 2013). Spending my spare time restoring my ’62 Triumph TR3 College Car and riding the 1964 Vespa I rebuilt for errands in the small town I’ve live in for the past 30 years. The Heller and McDonald cases drew me into the VC, but I stayed for the insight and banter.

  139. Physics major now with 40 years working in an unrelated field. Political junkie, fell into this blog back before WAPO and stayed both for the profs and also because the commentariat was as high quality as could be found on the intertubes. The latter bit has gone somewhat downhill but the rest of the intertubes has fallen apace and so I stick around.

  140. I’m a writer/producer for television. I’ve written for shows that you guys have heard of. Some that are even referenced here every once in awhile.

  141. Currently working in IT, but I’ve worked in the past, and occasionally still work on the side, as a Radio/Electronics technician in the Land Mobile Radio field. I’m also a former USN radioman, and a Ham operator, so it might be said I have a fair amount of interest in radios.

  142. B.S. Computer Science. Work in IT Operations for a very large company. Republican with Libertarian leanings. Probably back President Trump more than I should, but the Left apparently wants me to embrace him. After years as a squish, I am now against illegal immigration to the point of a zero-tolerance policy because I see our lack of enforcement as a nefarious force designed to stack the deck against Constitutional rule.

    2A Defender, but I do not own firearms. 1A Defender. Open to police reforms, and not just because of recent events. Libertarian take on Drugs occurs to me as untenable, but am willing to listen. IP law reform interests me. Think we ought to conduct trade wars over drug prices.

    I’ll wear a mask if required, otherwise will not.

  143. 30 year retired Naval Aviator. Currently a civilian flight instructor for the USAF. Daughter’s a 3L at UVA Law, FEDSOCer and prospective SCOTUS clerk.

  144. 59-year-old physician in Asheville, NC. Libertarian politically. Interested in several areas of law as a hobby, and in pursuit of trying to be an informed citizen.

  145. I’m a multi-tasker: Radio DJ, magazine columnist, producer of spoken and musical ads, former creator of weekly videos for kids. All of these only rarely get into the weeds of political issues—it’s mostly entertainment.

    In college I had a history professor whom I liked so much that I took an elective course in which he taught pre-law Supreme Court history. I flunked the course but loved it, and have followed legal issues ever since.

  146. I just got my PhD in Statistics last Friday and have worked (and am currently interviewing for statistician jobs) in the pharmaceutical industry. I am a pretty hardcore minarchist. I also have a lot of friends who are lawyers.

  147. I am a software developer and IT support analyst from Cleveland, OH. Permanent lurker, because I am very far out of my depth on these pages, but enjoy the lessons, rulings, and definitions.

  148. I am a Chemical and Materials Engineer by education, and have worked for a state environmental agency for 30 years specializing in remediation. I have followed EV since early stand alone days, through wandering in the wilderness of WaPo to Reason. Some of the articles go too far into the legal weeds for me to follow, but others help me understand the law and lawyers. I always check in for Short Circuits…

  149. Mid 20s self taught software developer. Was referred to Volokh when I was 20 by a friend, followed it around the internet since. I am fascinated by the constitution as a unique founding document, and how it has mostly lasted to this day.

    I am most interested in how conflicts between freedom and forced speech/behavior resolved, with an eye toward religious freedom in particular, as I am an observant Jew.

    Wondering what the ramifications of repealing the seventeenth amendment would be. Would it help stem the tide of populism? Has that ship already sailed? Or does it have no bearing on the matter?

  150. Mid 40s male. Liberal Libertarian VFX artist for TV, Movies, and Games. Been following for a number of years before WaPo. Self taught all sorts of skills – including editing, motion graphics, coding, VFX. I love “Tree Law.”

  151. I’m here for the Third Ammendment cases.

    Studied philosophy (German Continental, not logic) and dropped out my senior year of college (Spring Semester) after having a Trainspotting moment (no drugs). I began work as a dishwasher and have worked my way up in the service industry. Currently, I operate a Center City restaturant in Philadelphia which the cuisine is Italian homedishes and artisanal pizzas sold by the pie.

    I invite anyone who reads this, if you were to visit the restaurant I operate, to ask for the manager. When the manager approaches your table please ask if he is “the Captain they call D.M.F.L.?” If you are at the correct restaurant and I am the manager who approaches then I will respond, “And what scotch that we have would you prefer?” Your scotch is on me, one scotch per table, offers ends by the time of next year’s “Who Are You, Non-Lawyers?”

    Cheers & Best Regards,

    The Captain they call D.M.F.L.

  152. Software engineer working at Mozilla on the JavaScript engine in Firefox.

    Aside from the law being interesting in a sort of rule-based sense, much the same as software works (at least, for the most part — at the scale I work, faulty RAM and bit flips from cosmic rays are distinct possibilities, if very rare ones), I twigged onto an interest in law from a course on ethics and computer science and law at MIT. Class was taught by Hal Abelson (of SICP fame) and Danny Weitzner (who did tech in the Obama administration). Part of the course involved reading various Supreme Court opinions (Kyllo, I think either Olmstead or Katz, others).

    And around that time, I started paying attention to current-day SCOTUS as well. I remember downloading and listening to Baze v. Rees for one, then DC v. Heller later for another. Then followed subscribing to SCOTUSblog, and things metastasized from there.

    I think I also saw the Volokh Conspiracy linked from RedState posts, a dozen years back. I stopped trying to keep up with RedState a long time ago (well before it turned Trumpy), but the law interest — an interest as a matter of principle, not partisanship or policy — remained, and I kept reading here and at SCOTUSblog. Now, the politics stuff is interesting, but it plays distant second fiddle to law and legal questions and impartial textual interpretation for me.

    And to give you a sense how far gone I am, I subscribe to the Green Bag and have around a dozen bobbleheads from them (too lazy to count now), and I have been to DC for over twenty SCOTUS oral arguments at this point. (Usually tying together a bobblehead pickup with a SCOTUS argument.) I also hit up Trump v. Mazars when it was at the DC Circuit, the only lower-court argument I’ve ever attended.

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