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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Eugene Volokh on the Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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The Federalist Society hosted Eugene Volokh at the Law Center yesterday where his brother (and co-conspirator) Sasha Volokh is a visiting professor this year. The talk was a thought-provoking exploration of Prof. Volokh’s Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope. It’s well worth a read.

Exactly how, skeptics ask,would one step today lead to another, quite different step later? Why shouldn’t voters, legislators, and judges have the confidence to consider each proposal on its own merits? To accept a slippery slope argument, detractors claim, is to say that “we ought not to make a sound decision today, for fear of having to draw a sound distinction tomorrow.” It turns out, though, that the realities of the political and judicial processes can make the slippery slope—or, more precisely, several di≠erent kinds of mechanisms lurking behind the label “slippery slope”—a real concern.

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