June 27, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court announces its ruling on the 2010 national health care overhaul on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Over the past two years, Harvard Law School has hosted numerous debates, and the faculty has participated in many events focused on the legal challenges that have been brought to the Court. During the Court’s three days of hearings in March, the Harvard Federalist Society sponsored audio broadcasts of the Supreme Court oral arguments on healthcare reform in the Ames Courtroom at HLS.
A number of HLS faculty members have offered their opinions to the media in advance of the Court’s ruling. See below for a sampling of these contributions:
Harvard Professor of constitutional law Laurence Tribe [’66] suggested that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tone down his political barbs in writing court opinion lest he wishes to drive public opinion of the court down to Congress’ abysmal approval ratings.
“I think Justice Scalia ought to reconsider the harm he does to the court as an institution when he indulges his famous wit in order to stab the president,” said Tribe, who argued for Al Gore in the Bush vs. Gore 2000 showdown, during a Tuesday appearance on Jansing & Co.
Watch the video of Professor Tribe's appearance:
By HLS Professor Noah Feldman
The liberal Justice Kennedy is in the house -- at least for the moment.
Anthony Kennedy’s opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court embraced most of the Obama administration’s view that Arizona’s aggressive immigration laws are pre-empted by the federal government’s power to determine who is or is not allowed in the country. For good measure, Kennedy also provided the deciding fifth vote to rule that mandatory life without parole for murderers under 18 violates the Constitution.
In doing so, he might have given us a glimpse of some political gamesmanship behind closed doors at the court in the run-up to Thursday’s expected opinion on President Barack Obama’s signature health-care reform law.
The New Republic
By HLS Professor Einer Elhauge ’86 and attorney Emily Bass
Ever since the United States Supreme Court heard arguments about Obamacare’s constitutionality in late March, speculation has been rife that the Justices will strike down the individual mandate. The predictions rest on a single assertion: That individuals have never before been required, under the authority of the Commerce Clause, to purchase a product or service from a private party. In other words, that there is no precedent for a “purchase mandate.”
The assertion is inaccurate. There is not only clear precedent for such a mandate, but Justices of all political persuasions have embraced the precedent in principle. This includes nearly every member of the current Court. Only Justices Sotomayor and Kagan have never had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue.