Interview with Andrew Koppelman

I was fortunate enough to interview Professor Andrew Koppelman. He is the John Paul Stevens professor of law at Northwestern University. We discussed the Affordable Care Act. We discussed the ridiculous notion that conservatives have been pushing for the last 12 months that somehow the individual mandate opens up a “slippery slope.” This will allow Congress to mandate all kinds of ridiculous things. His answer was thoughtful and right on point. We also discussed the notion of “activist judges.” In my opinion, this is one of the best interviews that I’ve conducted. Enjoy.

Prof. Koppelman has written about the Affordable Care Act here, here, here and finally, here.


8 Responses

  1. Good interview. I think that you have given a clearer answer about limits than Koppelman. In the interview, it seemed that Koppelman’s response to the limit question was, “no big deal….an administrative detail.” He noted that people are forced to pay for Medicare, social security and jet fighters. I guess he believes that there are no limits.

    As I stated in other posts, I think that his examples are flawed. Medicare and Social Security are government programs. Fighter jets are products paid for by the government for defense.

    Interestingly, he did not use more relevant examples.

    He could have said, what’s the big deal! The government already makes us pay for loans to big banks and car companies. Therefore, the government can force us to buy stock in Bank of America or buy GM and Solyndra bonds. Any economic decision would become an opportunity for government direction and coercion in private enterprise.

    It seems that what is paid in taxes belongs to the government and whatever is left in your pocket also belongs to the government.
    Given that we had a tea party when colonists were forced to buy from East India, I don’t believe that the founders had this in mind when the Commerce Clause was written. 

  2. Yep. there is no limit. good sense and congress are the limits. Yes, the government could force you to buy stock in B of A. yes, they can. good sense and would prevent this from happening.

    thanks for your comments.

  3. I think that our differences are clear. I think there are
    Constitutional limits, you do not.  OK. 

     The only other point
    is that the limits of politics may not be as strong as some would like. As far
    as health care is concerned, many of the decisions will be made by the IPAB
    which is unelected.

  4. Here’s the deal. If the Congress passes a law that American’s don’t like, Americans can vote them out of office and then change the law. If you want limits on the constitution which are currently not there then pass a constitutional amendment to put those limits in place. Currently you are seeing things that aren’t there. The framers might have wanted them there but they didn’t write it down. Change the constitution if you want limits. 

    Be well. 

  5. That’s the debate. We’ve disagreed over limits before like Citzen United or Hosanna Tabor. We’ll see what happens.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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