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Is Obamacare Constitutional?

Thursday September 2011


Richard Epstein Visiting Scholar, Manhattan Institute
Laurence H. Tribe Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard Law School

A Debate Between

Richard A. Epstein, Visiting Scholar, Manhattan Institute; Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard Law School
Moderated By: James R. Copland, Director, Center for Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute

Multiple cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, known to its critics as “Obamacare,” are currently making their way through the courts—with the issue likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Epstein, a longtime visiting scholar with the Manhattan Institute, is the most prominent exponent of a libertarian vision of the U.S. Constitution in legal academia. Even before the health care reform act was passed in 2010, Professor Epstein raised questions about its constitutionality in a Manhattan Institute publication.

Professor Tribe, the author of the leading academic treatise on constitutional law, has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including most prominently Bush v. Gore on behalf of the former vice president. In contrast to Professor Epstein, Professor Tribe has been a consistent defender of the health reform act’s constitutionality.

The Manhattan Institute is pleased to bring together the two leading academic advocates of differing constitutional visions of the health reform law for a debate that will assess the likely outcome of the current litigation and frame the constitutional issues at play in a broader context.