September 12, 2011

Legal scholar to discuss debate over health care reform law

Georgetown University Law Center Professor Randy E. Barnett will discuss the Affordable Care Act at The Johns Hopkins University’s 2011 Constitutional Forum, which is held in conjunction with the annual observance of Constitution Day and focuses on important legal issues.

During his talk, “Commandeering the People: Why ObamaCare is Unconstitutional,” Barnett will discuss the debate over the constitutionality of the health care reform law in the context of a broader discussion of theories of “originalism” and how to interpret the commerce clause, and the Constitution more generally.

The forum will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, in 110 Hodson Hall on the Homewood campus.

Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts. After graduating from Northwestern University and Harvard Law School, he tried many felony cases as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago. In 2004, he argued the medical marijuana case of Gonzalez v. Raich before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University and Harvard Law School. In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies.

Barnett’s publications include more than 100 articles and reviews, as well as nine books, including Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, Constitutional Law: Cases in Context, Contracts: Cases and Doctrine and The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law.

He regularly publishes opinion pieces in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Parker-Spitzer Glenn Beck and Ricki Lake. In 2007, Barnett was featured in the documentaries The Trials of Law School and In Search of the Second Amendment; he also portrayed an assistant prosecutor in the independent film InAlienable.

The 2011 Constitutional Forum at Johns Hopkins, sponsored by Department of Political Science and the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, celebrates Constitution Day, Sept. 17, the day in 1787 when delegates convened for the final time to sign the U.S. Constitution.

The event is supported by the George Huntington Williams Memorial Lectureship, established to honor the memory of George Huntington Williams, a pioneer in the microscopic study of rocks and minerals. Williams was Johns Hopkins’ first professor of petrology and founded in the late 1880s the Department of Geology (now Earth and Planetary Sciences). In 1917, his family created an endowment in his memory for lectures by distinguished public figures on topics of widespread contemporary interest. Past speakers have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.