Perry Dane, a professor of law at Rutgers-Camden, has written an essay for WHYY’s Newsworks on U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the Affordable Care Act. Dane is an expert on constitutional law and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is an excerpt:
Chief Justice Roberts’ controlling opinion on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act held that the Act’s individual mandate could not be upheld under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce because the mandate regulated mere “inactivity,” forcing “individuals not engaged in commerce to buy an unwanted product” — health insurance. The Chief Justice then saved health care reform, however, by affirming the mandate as an exercise of Congress’s power to “lay and collect taxes.”
In a country with a more sensible tradition of constitutional interpretation, the constitutionality of the mandate would have turned more directly on some basic questions of institutional design in a federal system. For example: Is Congress legislating within one of the broad subject areas, such as interstate commerce, that the Constitution has entrusted to it? Are the problems the legislation addresses so large and interconnected across the nation that their reform might reasonably invite a single national response rather than hodge-podge state responses? And would that single national response unreasonably invade one of the domains that have usually adequately been left to the states, such as family law or general-purpose criminal law? Seen from that perspective, the constitutionality of the mandate would have been obvious, as would the silliness of the alleged distinction between “activity” and “inactivity.”
Read the entire essay here.
Jay Feinman is a distinguished professor of law at Rutgers-Camden
Many former National Football league players have sued the league, accusing it of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to depression, dementia, and other neurological conditions. The merits of their claims will be fought out in the litigation, recently consolidated in federal court in Philadelphia.
The players’ claims and the NFL’s recent recognition that concussions and brain injuries are a serious problem illustrate that institutions and not just individuals need to acquire information about risks and then implement measures to control them. People like to think they control their own safety, but that’s not the case.
Think about driving. A driver makes many individual decisions about how much risk to take. Stop as the light is just turning red or keep going and save two minutes? Call a cab or drive home after having just a couple of drinks?
But many of the most important decisions about driving safety are out of the driver’s hands. You might think that your chances of getting in a serious accident are low so you would prefer to save a few thousand dollars and buy a car without airbags or a crash-protective passenger compartment, but you can’t. A combination of institutional decisions by auto companies and government regulators have eliminated your ability to take that risk. (As in the NFL’s case, those decisions were spurred by high-profile events and the threat of litigation.)
The same is true of head injuries in the NFL. Players can control some of the risk, by tackling properly and reporting symptoms. Most of the risk allocation has to be done by the league, however. Read the rest of this entry »
Aman Mcleod, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers-Camden, recently joined a panel of experts to discuss the upcoming New Jersey primary on the Comcast Network program “Voice of Reason” hosted by Larry Kane.
Mcleod teaches courses on American and comparative constitutional law, criminal procedure, American politics and international law. He has also written articles and chapters focused on judicial behavior, judicial selection and voting rights.
To listen to an audio transcript of the program, click here, then click “KYW Specials Place” and find “NJ Primary Preview June 2, 2012.”
What were your favorite TV shows growing up? Did you watch local children’s television programming? Children’s television show hosts in the Delaware Valley left an indelible mark on the children of the era who were comforted by the hosts’ warmth and charm. Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic, a reference librarian at Rutgers-Camden’s Paul Robeson Library, and Brandi Scardilli, a Rutgers–Camden graduate, wrote an essay on the topic about for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Here is an excerpt:
Local children’s programming in the Philadelphia area flourished during the “Golden Age of Television,” from the rise of commercial broadcasting after World War II to the early 1970s. During its heyday the hosted children’s show was a mainstay of locally produced programming. In the Philadelphia area, original children’s shows were produced by the three local broadcast affiliates – WPZT (later KYW), Channel 3 (NBC, now CBS), WFIL (later WPVI) Channel 6 (ABC), and WCAU Channel 10 (CBS, now NBC) – and reached viewers throughout Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, and even northern Maryland. The Philadelphia shows were not only financially successful, garnering large audience shares for their time slots and generating substantial advertising income for the stations, but were also critically well-received by reviewers, children, and parents.
When commercial television began, national networks typically did not begin their weekday broadcasts until after seven o’clock at night. Local stations had to fill the rest of the air time during each weekday. Children’s shows became a popular choice for economic reasons. The local children’s programs kept their production costs very low: the sets were minimal; there were no writers (most shows were ad-libbed); and the star (the host) performed live.
Read the rest of this entry »
Greg Lastowka, a professor of law at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden, recently wrote about the Internet blackout and online SOPA protests for the Yale Press. Check out the blog post right here: