Pitt Law School to Host Sept. 18 Panel Discussion on Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Ruling

Issue Date: 
September 17, 2012

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law will host a panel discussion titled “The Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision: A Discussion in Celebration of Constitution Day” from 5-6 p.m. Sept. 18 in the school’s Barco Law Building, Room 107. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be part of the University’s Constitution Day activities.

The topic of discussion will be the June 28, 2012, U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a statute that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. A majority of the justices concluded that the law’s so-called “individual mandate” is constitutional under Congress’ taxing authority, but the Court prevented the federal government from withholding all Medicaid funds to states that fail to comply with the expansion of Medicaid. Pitt Law’s constitutional and health law experts will discuss the meaning and long-term implications of the decision.

Constitution Day is a federally designated day to commemorate the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution.

Information on the panelists and moderator follows.

Panelist William M. Carter Jr. is a legal scholar and dean of Pitt’s School of Law. Widely respected for his scholarship in constitutional law, international human rights law, and social justice issues, Carter served as a professor of law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law and Case Western Reserve University School of Law before he became Pitt Law’s dean on July 1, 2012. He is an award-winning teacher who has taught in the areas of constitutional law, civil procedure, political and civil rights, and litigation. Carter’s articles have been published or are in press in such highly respected law journals as the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, and the UCLA Law Review. Courts, lawyers, and other scholars have cited his work, and Carter has established a national and international scholarly reputation, particularly with regard to the Thirteenth Amendment.

Panelist Jules Lobel is a law professor and the Bessie McKee Wathour Endowed Chair at Pitt’s law school. He coauthored the award-winning book Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror (New Press, 2007) with David Cole. It won the first Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for exemplary scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security. Lobel also is the author of Success Without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America (NYU Press, 2003) and the editor of several books on civil rights litigation and the U.S. Constitution. As president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a national human and constitutional rights organization headquartered in New York, Lobel has litigated numerous cases involving constitutional and human rights issues in the U.S. courts. He involves his students in the litigation, giving them first-hand exposure to the constitutional litigation of significant and complex issues.

Panelist Alan Meisel is a professor of law and psychiatry and the Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pittsburgh. A leading national and international authority on end-of-life decision making and informed consent to medical treatment, Meisel also is the founder and director of Pitt’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law and Pitt Law’s Master of Studies in Law program and Health Law certificate program. He is the principal author of the treatise, The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Aspen Publishers, 2004 ), and has published widely in the fields of health law and medical ethics. Meisel served on the Ethics Working Group of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993. A Fellow of the Hastings Center, he also has served as a consultant to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment on its studies on life-sustaining technologies and institutional protocols for health care decision making.

The discussion’s moderator will be Jessie Allen, an assistant professor of law who teaches civil procedure, legal ethics, and civil rights in Pitt’s School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on the social impact of adjudication. Prior to joining Pitt’s law faculty in 2010, Allen taught at New York University and served as a staff attorney at that university’s Brennan Center for Justice. While there, she worked on judicial policy and litigated criminal disenfranchisement cases, including Johnson v. Bush, a class action challenging Florida’s permanent voting ban for anyone convicted of a felony. During the 2008 election cycle, she litigated and advocated against voting barriers as a senior attorney with Advancement Project, a racial justice organization in Washington, D.C.  Allen is the author of the Blackstone Weekly blog. She has published articles in law reviews in the United States and South Africa and in journals, including Dissent and American Lawyer.

For further information on this event, visit www.law.pitt.edu/events or call 412-648-1418.