"I Take the Twenty-First"


If people ask you to say things you don't want to say, you can colloquially respond, "I take the Fifth" (referring to the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination). So if people tell you not to take that next drink, you should say, "I take the Twenty-First."

(To be sure, sometimes you really shouldn't take that next drink. But then again, sometimes you shouldn't be taking the Fifth, either.)

NEXT: Chief Justice Roberts Was Right About One Thing: There are no "Trump Judges"

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  1. Prof. V, I think that will go well over most folks' heads, but might demonstrate to some a level of sobriety permitting one more drink. Yamazaki 18 for me, neat.

  2. And the following drink, of course would be the Twenty-Second.

    But the Standing is questionable.

    1. The chair says let's table the question on standing.

  3. Alcohol is the most toxic mind altering substance. Half the suicides are drunk. Half the murderers, the murder victims are drunk. A much larger fraction of people who fight or engage in abuse of their families are likely to be drunk. After syphilis was treated with antibiotics, alcohol effects on the brain became the number one cause of hospitalization in a state hospital.

    Prohibition dropped consumption by only 50%. It has a bad reputation. Yet, it had very beneficial effects on public health and on the economy. It lowered alcohol caused crime by 25%. The notoriety of its generating crime syndicates reflected the failure of lawyer enforcement of the law, and probably their being bribed.

    1. The Nazis and Communists eliminated a lot of Jewish crimes. Should we celebrate that?

      Hitler liked dogs. Is that worth celebrating?

      Every cost has a benefit. Every benefit has a cost. One without the other does not exist. Measuring either in isolation is a core ideologue technique.

    2. Quick! Legalize cannabis. What could go wrong?

    3. On the contrary, Prohibition directly led to the mafia and would have regardless of the capabilities of law enforcement. We know that because the same effects result from every attempt at prohibition in history. Law enforcement is fundamentally incapable of resisting the incentives for corruption when prohibition makes it so profitable.

      You are also fundamentally incorrect in your statistic about reduction of alcohol-caused crime. All it did was to drive a lot of that crime underground. It's hard enough to report domestic violence. It's far harder when doing so will mean that your primary breadwinner will also be arrested for alcohol consumption.

      1. On the contrary, consumption of alcohol was perfectly legal during Prohibition. The Volstead act merely banned the manufacture, sale, barter, transport, import, export, delivering, furnishing, and possession of intoxicating beverages. It doesn't mention consuming them at all.

        In fact Section 33 contains this gem:
        "... it shall not be unlawful to possess liquors in one's private dwelling while the same is occupied and used by him as his dwelling only and such liquor need not be reported, provided such liquors are for use only for the personal consumption of the owner thereof and his family residing in such dwelling and of his bona fide guests when entertained by him therein; and the burden of proof shall be upon the possessor in any action concerning the same to prove that such liquor was lawfully acquired, possessed, and used."

        1. There were dry places where it was illegal to consume alcohol. I'll also point out that it was rather hard to legally get alcohol to consume in your home, so most consumption still carried the risk of being arrested somewhere in the process.

  4. What if someone offers you a fifth of vodka? Do you take the 21st? Take the Fifth? Or cover your ass and take the 26th? (Or would it be the 105th?? . . . I can't remember from law school if you add the numbers or multiply them when relying on multiple Amendments.)

    1. After you take the fifth of vodka, it will either A)all be clear or B)not matter.

    2. Santamonica -- you use factorials....

  5. There actually is a bar near the Mass State House called the 21st Amendment.

  6. Professor Volokh...Hope you see this comment. I would love to see you discuss "Daniel's Law" that recently passed in the People's Republic of NJ. We have now created different classes of privacy; one for Federal judges, and one for the rest of us.

    I know there was an initial blog post, but would love to see a detailed discussion of the law itself. Also, why couldn't a mere People's Republic Plebe (like me) challenge the law on the basis of equal protection? Do I have standing?

  7. Self-test and retest for CoViD-19 symptoms of ansomia (loss of smell sense) and dysgeusia (loss of sense of taste) with fine wine.

    I test daily with 470 ml, ~ 50 ml ethanol.

    1. A martyr for science, are you?

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