Sessions Information

  • January 7, 2011
    10:30 am - 12:15 pm
    Session Type: AALS Hot Topic Programs
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: Hilton San Francisco Union Square
    Room: Plaza A
    Floor: Lobby Level


    (Papers to be published in Mercer Law Review)


    More than 40 percent of the states have sued to challenge healthcare reform as unconstitutional, from Florida to Alaska, Michigan to Texas, Washington to Pennsylvania -- the largest collection of states in our nation’s history joining together peacefully to question federal laws allegedly undermining individual freedom and state integrity.   Though the challenges were initially brushed off, two key actions have survived motions to dismiss, and seem to be on track to test the outer limits of the Commerce Clause, the Spending Clause, and other constitutional matters.

    Four leading voices in this emerging national constitutional debate (two on each side) will gather to articulate their respective views of the challenge.  Professor Randy Barnett of Georgetown, who was lead counsel in the Raich case (also about the outer limits of the Commerce Clause), will argue that the individual mandate violates existing doctrine applying the Commerce and Necessary & Proper clauses, and the tax power.  Professor David Oedel of Mercer serves as Deputy Special Attorney General for Georgia in the 20-state healthcare reform challenge (the only law professor appearing as counsel in the case on either side).  He will argue that changes to Medicaid effectively coerce the states in violation of the Spending Clause.  Professor Gillian Metzger of Columbia, who is spearheading a leading amicus brief of law professors defending healthcare reform as constitutional, will highlight a number of specific defenses to the challenges both on the merits and as to justiciability.  Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Cal Irvine, one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars, will discuss the issues in the context of the broad sweep of American constitutional history that has seen substantial enlargements of federal power since the republic’s founding.  Professor Brad Joondeph of Santa Clara will moderate.  His blog on the various legal challenges to healthcare reform,, provides a valuable public service to all who are interested in the subject.

Session Speakers
Georgetown University Law Center

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Santa Clara University School of Law

Columbia Law School

Mercer University School of Law

Session Fees

Fees information is not available at this time.