University of Pittsburgh
February 27, 2012

Pitt Prof. Arthur Hellman Says Upcoming Supreme Court Case on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Signed by President Obama “Possibly the Most Important Constitutional Case of Our Generation”

Hellman is available to discuss the case and the preparation of making and countering arguments that will be presented before the court
Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman says the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in March 2010 is “possibly the most important constitutional case of our generation,” so much so that the attorneys in the case will be practicing before groups of lawyers who will constitute mock “Supreme Courts.”

Hellman is available to discuss the case to be argued by former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement and current U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. as well as the preparation of making and countering arguments that will be presented before the Court. Following are several points of discussion Hellman is prepared to address.

• The lawyers who make up the mock “Supreme Courts” are the most eminent and sought after in the legal profession and are retained to anticipate and prepare for every possible question that may arise in the case.

• Nevertheless, the Justices will likely come up with unexpected questions that strike at the heart of the matter or point to weaknesses in the case, allowing well-prepared top-flight attorneys to shine.

• Clement and Verilli will not have the luxury of delivering prepared talks; they will be lucky to get out three or four sentences before one of the Justices jumps in with a question or comment.

• Counsel arguing against the health care legislation will ask the court to look to the future with concern that an overly powerful national government could create even more personal mandates.

• Counsel on the other side will emphasize precedent, asking the court to look to the past, where it has upheld regulation of individual behavior when interstate commerce was affected.

According to Hellman, the challengers have the most difficult job with the precedents because there are so many cases that uphold congressional power, while the government’s lawyer has the most difficult task in looking forward.

Pitt’s Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair, Hellman has achieved a national reputation as a federal courts scholar. He is one of the leading academic commentators on issues of federal judicial ethics and is the nation’s leading academic authority on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest of the federal appellate courts. Hellman’s studies on the operation of precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court and the courts of appeals have been used as a basis for policy decisions at both the federal and state levels.

Over the years, Hellman has testified as an invited witness at hearings of the Judiciary Committees in the U.S. House and Senate. Hellman’s proposals for overruling a Supreme Court decision on federal jurisdiction were adopted in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), previously called the Patent Reform Act of 2011, that was enacted into law this past September.

Among the articles and books Hellman has written are two casebooks, Federal Courts: Cases and Materials on Judicial Federalism and the Lawyering Process (LexisNexis, 2d ed. 2009), with Lauren Robel and David R. Stras, and First Amendment Law: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion (LexisNexis/Matthew Bender, 2d 3d. 2010), with William D. Araiza and Thomas E. Baker.






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