August 02, 2011
On August 1st, Scotus Blog published an op-ed by Beneficial Professor of Law Charles Fried on the constitutionality of the healthcare mandate. In the piece, Fried argues that the attack against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is pure politics and ignores established legal principles.
Fried writes: “The energy behind the attack – to the extent that it is not simply the chosen symbol of an attack on President Obama’s supposed push to turn the United States into a Western European style social democratic state – lies in a supposed insult to our liberties. But that is pure hysteria.”
Based on several arguments related to Medicare, individual states rights, and the government’s ability to regulate commerce, he states the Affordable Care Act is well within constitutional boundaries.
In a debate hosted at HLS on March 24, Fried and two other law professors offered different perspectives on whether the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act violates the commerce clause of the Constitution and infringes on personal liberties. Fried and HLS Professor Laurence Tribe ‘66 both argued for the constitutionality of the mandate. Randy Barnett ’77, a former student of both, who is now teaching at Georgetown University Law Center, challenged the mandate’s constitutionality.
Fried has taught at HLS since 1961 and was solicitor general of the United States from 1985-1989. He was an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1995-1999. His most recent book is “Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror” (W.W. Norton & Co. 2010).