Health care reform topic of Constitution Day talk

James HuffmanTwo leading constitutional scholars will present “Health Care Reform and the Constitution” on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield College.

Professor James Huffman of Lewis & Clark Law School and Professor Norman Williams of Willamette University Law School will give the lecture in recognition of Constitution Day. The event is free and open to the public.

Norman WilliamsThe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, called “health care reform” by its supporters and “Obamacare” by its critics, has been at the center of political and constitutional debate since it was signed into law in 2010. According to its supporters, the Act is a modest step toward a more humane health care system that is fully consistent with deeply rooted traditions of constitutional law. According to its critics, the Act is a step toward socialized medicine that runs afoul of basic principles of constitutionally limited government. In August 2011, a federal appeals court in Atlanta declared that part of the Act is unconstitutional. Most experts agree that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on this controversy next year. Huffman and Williams will share their views of these controversies before taking questions from the audience.

Huffman joined the Lewis & Clark Law School faculty in 1973, serving as dean from 1993 to 2006. He earned degrees from Montana State University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the University of Chicago Law School. He was a fellow at the Humane Studies Institute and a Distinguished Bradley Scholar at the Heritage Foundation. Huffman serves on the boards of the National Crime Victims Law Institute, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Classroom Law Project and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He is a member and former chair of the executive committee of the Environment and Property Rights Practice Group of the Federalist Society. He is a member of the Montana Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. He is the author of more than 100 articles and chapters on a wide array of legal topics. In 2010, he was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate.

Williams graduated from New York University School of Law, and clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. From 1996 to 2001, he practiced in the U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group of the New York law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt. He joined the Willamette law faculty in 2001. In addition to directing the Willamette Center for Constitutional Government, Williams is faculty co-advisor to the “Willamette Law Review.”

For more information, contact Nick Buccola, assistant professor of political science, 503-883-2246.