Point\Counterpoint: Diagnosing the Constitutionality of

Federal Health Care Reforms


Saturday, Dec.4 | 8-9:30 a.m.

On March 3, 2010, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on behalf of Virginia alleging that federal health care reform—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—was unconstitutional. The lawsuit brought the debate about the roles state and federal governments should play in national health care reform front and center. To date, 20 more states will also challenge the law's requirement that individuals must carry health insurance or face a penalty.
Join constitutional scholars Gillian Metzger and Ilyia Shapiro for a lively debate as they discuss the constitutionality of federal health care reform and explore the impact of the recently filed Virginia v. Sebelius.



Vermont Gov. James H. Douglas
CSG Past President
Vermont Gov. James Douglas has been serving the people of Vermont for more than 35 years. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives after graduating from Middlebury College in 1972. He became Assistant Majority Leader in his second term and Majority Leader in his third term at the age of 25. Douglas retired from the legislature in 1979 to become a top aide to former-Gov. Richard Snelling. Douglas was elected secretary of state in 1980, a post he would hold for 12 years. He was then elected state treasurer in 1994, where he served the people of Vermont for eight years. As treasurer, he implemented programs that returned millions of dollars in assets to their rightful owners and under his leadership Vermont's bond rating came to be the best in New England and one of the best in the nation.
Douglas successfully sought the office of governor in 2002 and was inaugurated as the 80th governor of Vermont. Douglas has been chosen for leadership positions by his colleagues, having served as the president of The Council of State Governments, chairman (twice) of the New England Governors' Conference and chairman of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors. He is the immediate past chairman of the National Governors Association.


Gillian Metzger, Columbia Law School
Gillian Metzger joined the Columbia law faculty in 2001. She teaches constitutional and administrative law, as well as a seminar on federalism. Prior to coming to Columbia, Metzger served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She also worked as an attorney in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she was instrumental in bringing litigation challenging Florida's permanent disenfranchisement of felons and assisted in efforts to defend campaign finance reform measures. Metzger received her J.D. from Columbia in 1995, where she was executive articles editor of the Columbia Law Review, and also has a master's in philosophy from Oxford University. She received her B.A. from Yale in 1987.

Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Before joining Cato, he was a special assistant/advisor to the Multi-National Force in Iraq on rule of law issues and practiced international, political, commercial and antitrust litigation at Patton Boggs and Cleary Gottlieb. Shapiro contributed to a variety of academic, popular and professional publications, including the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Legal Times, Weekly Standard, Roll Call and National Review Online. From 2004 to 2007, he wrote the "Dispatches from Purple America" column for TCS Daily.com. He also regularly provides commentary on a host of legal and political issues for various TV and radio outlets, including CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, "The Colbert Report" and American Public Media's "Marketplace." He lectures regularly on behalf of the Federalist Society and other educational and professional groups, is a member of the board of visitors of the Legal Studies Institute at The Fund for American Studies, was an inaugural Washington Fellow at the National Review Institute, and has been an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School.