Home Official News Releases The 2014 Constitutional Law Symposium to examine “Obamacare” and LBJ’s Great Society

The 2014 Constitutional Law Symposium to examine “Obamacare” and LBJ’s Great Society

The Drake University Constitutional Law Center will again host the Constitutional Law Symposium with the support of Nate McCay and the law firm of Belin McCormick, P.C. on Saturday, April 12. This year’s symposium will bring together acclaimed historians, authors, and political experts to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s Great Society.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson proposed the Great Society 50 years ago, his sweeping vision was to end poverty and racial injustice. Government programs were created with the goals of eradicating poverty, eliminating racial discrimination, and bolstering health and education, especially for the poor. Fifty years later, however, there is significant controversy about the results. Supporters argue that poverty has gone down because of these programs and that poverty would be much worse without them. Critics say these programs have spent billions of taxpayer dollars, created huge national bureaucracies, achieved little, and that the poor would be better off depending largely on the free market.

The U.S. is now seeing a renewed debate about inequality and economic progress. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act ranks among the federal government’s most dramatic efforts to augment the social safety net, though it contains some market-based elements not present in Great Society programs. This symposium will explore the Great Society, LBJ, the legacy of the laws enacted at that time, and their significance in light of President Obama’s signature domestic welfare accomplishment.

The symposium will take place on April 12 in the Sussman Theater of Drake University’s Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave. The schedule is as follows:

7:45–8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

8:15–8:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks

8:30–9:30 a.m.
First Keynote Address: “LBJ and the Great Society: Preludes to the Obama Presidency and Obamacare” by Robert Dallek, professor of history at the Stanford University Program in Washington, D.C. and the author of a two-volume biography on President Johnson.

9:30–10:15 a.m.
“The Conflict of Visions in NFIB v. Sebelius” by Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

10:15–10:30 a.m.
Break and refreshments

10:30–11:15 a.m.
Second Keynote Address: “Obamacare and American Political Development” by Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

11:15 a.m.–12 p.m.
“The Privatization of A ‘Basic Human Right’: Means and Ends in the Great Society and the Affordable Care Act” by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School; professor of history at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and co-director for the program in law and history.

12-12:15 p.m.
Break and refreshments

12:15-1 p.m.
“The Constitution of Opportunity, 1964/2014” by William E. Forbath, associate dean for research and Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law

1–1:45 p.m.
“None of the Laws But One” by Neil S. Siegel, David W. Ichel Professor of Law;
professor of political science; co-director of the program in public law; and director of the D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy at Duke University Law School

Visit http://www.law.drake.edu/clinicsCenters/conLaw/?pageID=conLawSymposium for more information on this year’s speakers, including a list of past Constitutional Law Symposium speakers.

The 2014 Constitutional Law Symposium 
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Time: 8:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Location: Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center
Registration information: Registration is limited and costs $10 per person (free for Drake or Belin affiliated individuals), which covers the symposium and a continental breakfast.