Barnett, who represented the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) in their challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and attended the oral arguments last month as an observer for that organization, joined HLS Dean Martha L. Minow April 12 to discuss the case in a program sponsored by the HLS Federalist Society.
Minow introduced Barnett as “the person who’s most responsible for bringing public attention to this issue and identifying the structure of a constitutional challenge.”
Barnett characterized his ongoing constitutional challenge to the individual mandate as a rather lonely one when he took it up 2 ½ years ago after lawyer David Rivkin raised the issue in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece and launched an online legal-blog debate.
“There was another law professor on that blog who posted a very snarky ‘Nobody can be serious about a constitutional challenge here,’” Barnett said. “And I just sort of decided, ‘Well, maybe I should say something.”
You can watch the full video of the event here.