The Washington Post lost political wonk blogger Ezra Klein Tuesday morning and right away announced it had signed a new blogging team: the legal minds at the Volokh Conspiracy. The blog was founded in Los Angeles a dozen years ago by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and his brother. The blog's sweet spot has always been the law and constitutional issues, but the Volokh Conspiracy writers also touch on politics, public policy, culture, sports and other topics. "A murderers’ row of law profs and legal minds who cover civic fodder from a [generally] libertarian or conservative perspective," lauds Reid Smith at the American Spectator. Here's the Post's blurb:
The Washington Post today announced a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog that covers law, public policy, politics, culture and other topics.
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, founded the blog in April 2002, and it quickly became a regular destination for Supreme Court junkies, academics, and anyone interested in law and national issues. Most of the contributors are law professors, and include some of the top legal scholars in the nation.
Their expertise covers free speech, religious freedom, guns, criminal procedure, environmental law, business law, national security law, and much more. Some of the contributors also have extensive records in government service, and in high-profile Supreme Court litigation: they include a former federal judge; one of the chief architects of the challenge to the Affordable Care Act individual mandate; a former general counsel for the NSA and former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DHS; and a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Readers will now be able to visit The Volokh Conspiracy here.
This must-read source will be a great addition to The Post’s coverage of law, politics and policy.
The Volokh Conspiracy slogan is "Mostly law professors, blogging about whatever we want since 2002." Headlines on the front page today include these:
Professor Volokh explains the deal in a post he calls In Brazil, you can always find the Amazon — in America, the Amazon finds you — heh...hard to read that as anything but an allusion to new Post owner Jeff Bezos.
We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the volokh.com domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that.
The main difference will be that the blog, like the other Washingtonpost.com material, will be placed behind the Post’s rather permeable paywall. We realize that this may cause some inconvenience for some existing readers — we are sorry about that, and we tried to negotiate around it, but that’s the Post’s current approach.
Here are the details on how this will work:
1. For the first six months, you can access the blog for free. We negotiated that with the Post, by giving up likely about half of our share of the advertising revenue for that time. (Six months is the longest we could get.)
2. Even after the six months, the blog will be outside the paywall for any .edu and .gov readers. If you are an .edu and .gov user, but want to access the blog from home, you will be able to do that just by registering for a free account. (Indeed, that’s true for all Washington Post content.)
3. The first 10 page accesses per month to Washington Post material will be free, so if you’re an occasional reader, you’ll likely be able to read the blog the familiar way.
He discusses other exceptions to the paywall. He pledges only a little change in the mix and tone. "When someone else’s brand is at stake in what you write, you think about that before writing...I don’t think this will make us shy away from controversy — that’s not our temperament — but it might lead us to cut back on a few of the more personal posts (though I’ll never cut back on the math puzzles).
"Still, on balance I expect that this will be a very slight effect. We blog because we have things we want to say, and having the Post platform will, if anything, make us more likely to want to say them."
Volokh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before landing at UCLA Law. Oh, and before that he was a computer programmer for a dozen years. Did I mention he graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in math-computer science at the age of 15?
Photo of Volokh: UCLA Magazine