Tuesday, March 11, 2008


In Con Law we're talking about the abortion cases -- Roe, Casey, Carhart, etc. -- and the nature of discussion is totally different from any kind of discussion that would have happened in college. In undergrad, people would voice emphatic opinions and defend them vigorously. The class would probably run long, and the professor would moderate.

In law school, the discussion is very different. The students are very, very reluctant to state opinions, and when they (we) do, it's like tiptoeing. Of course, this makes sense in an environment like law school, where people are excessively aware of peer approval.

But it's also counter-intuitive in at least one sense. When we're talking about less emotional issues, the debate is more heated than it is now, when the subject is extremely controversial. Yet the abortion discussion is like pulling teeth to get students to contribute.

Another observation: People tend to mimic the speech that they're exposed to. Since we're reading and discussing abortion cases, words like "conception" and "termination" are being used as they relate directly to the actual abortion procedure, but people are also unconsciously using them to mean other things ("My conception of this idea involves...").


Summer said...

That is very interesting. I had the same experience in my con law class.

Anonymous said...

I'm not inspired to participate because I've heard all the arguments before. I'll speak up when I hear (or think of) something original that hasn't already been discussed or rebutted ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

This is because the bottom line is that your moral feelings regarding abortion have very little to do with how the Supreme Court decided Roe or Casey.

It simply isn't relevant to the discussion. Analysis of the constitutional parameters of the decisions doesn't garner the same emotion that the issue itself does.