Is Obamacare Constitutional?

Posted: Apr 03, 2010 9:26 AM
The Center for American Progress had a chuckle about it a few days ago:

Yesterday, the University of Washington held a debate about the constitutionality of the recently passed health care reform bill. The Seattle Times reports that none of the panelists at the debate argued that the bill was unconstitutional because the organizers of the event couldn’t find any law professors who held that view.

Actual constitutional scholars disagree, of course, as David Kopel notes:

Well, all I can say is that if I had some legal problem that required modestly diligent research, I sure wouldn’t hire any of those Washington panel organizers.

My Cato Institute colleague Ilya Shapiro has just posted an offer to debate Obamacare anywhere, anytime. Besides working at Cato (where he edits the Cato Supreme Court Review, and helps manage Cato’s extensive constitutional litigation program), he is also an adjunct professor of law at George Washington University.

Like Sanford Levinson, Randy Barnett, of Georgetown Law School, is also the author of a constitutional law textbook; Barnett has commented extensively on the unconstitutionality of Obamacare. Cato’s Roger Pilon has written many legal scholarly articles, and is an adjunct at Georgetown, although he teaches Government, so perhaps he does not count. Another law professor skeptic is Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago. Lee A. Casey, who is co-counsel for the 13-Attorneys-General lawsuit, is currently in private practice, but has been an adjunct law professor at George Mason.

A debate on the constitutionality of Obamacare would be fascinating to watch. Obviously, liberals and liberal universities are completely uninterested in having that debate, preferring merely to explain how "totally obvious!" it is that Obamacare is constitutional.