The Volokh Conspiracy

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Slippery Slope Arguments

Slippery Slope Arguments in History: Some Arguments from the Left


I've often heard people pooh-pooh slippery slope arguments as devices of the political Right, which has puzzled me: People on the Left have made plenty of them as well. Here are three examples that I gathered for my 2003 article, though I'm sure one can find many more since then. I express no view on the merits of the arguments, but I'm just using them to show how ecumenical this mode of argument is:

[1.] Robynn Tysver, Traffic-Camera Bill Hits Bump in the Road, Omaha World-Herald, Feb. 23, 2001, at 9:

Tim Butz of the Nebraska chapter of the ACLU said [the installation of cameras to catch traffic offenders] is a "slippery slope" that infringes on people's rights. "[When] it comes to privacy, what's next?" Butz asked. "Are we going to put cameras in buses, city parks or restrooms?"

[2.] News Conference To Announce Opposition to Late Term Abortion [Ban], FDCH Political Transcripts, Nov. 7, 1995, remarks of Kate Michelman, President, National Abortion Rights Action League):

[This] is the first time that the Congress has used its federal authority to ban and outlaw an established medical procedure…. I know a lot of people use slippery slope arguments et cetera but I think in this case this is an extremely dangerous precedent that could lead the Congress to look at other medical procedures, indeed and in fact in the House, several members of the House made it very clear that in the case of abortion, they intend to introduce legislation that would ban other abortion procedures.

[3.] All Things Considered: Daily Prayer Sessions in Attorney General John Ashcroft's Office (NPR radio broadcast, May 18, 2001):

Laura Murphy, the Washington director of the American Civil Liberties Union, says holding the open prayer meetings in the attorney general's office is a slippery slope.