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Constitutional Prognostication: Does Anybody Know Anything?

15 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2014 Last revised: 23 Sep 2014

David A. Hyman

Georgetown University

Date Written: July 23, 2014


Every client knows that his case is a winner, but practicing lawyers know better. Indeed, practicing lawyers are extremely reluctant to make predictions about how a case will come out ā€” and when forced to do so, they will invariably reference the hazards and uncertainties of litigation, and hedge any predictions they make. When it came to the legal challenges against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA"), law professors who teach and write about constitutional law were far less circumspect. Indeed, they seemingly competed with one another to demonstrate how confident they were that that the federal courts would reject the legal challenges to PPACA in their entirety.

How did these confident predictions fare when the cases were actually tried? Not all that well ā€“ if by "not all that well" we mean "the complete repudiation of everything that law professors believed and espoused." The University of Illinois Law Review has now published five responses to my article, by Professors Blackman, Blumstein, Koppelman, Mazzone, and Ramseyer. In this short essay, I summarize each of the responses, and offer a short reply, organized around two Pā€™s (Predictions and Practical Knowledge), and one M (Merits).

Keywords: constitutional law, health reform, PPACA

JEL Classification: K19, K23

Suggested Citation

Hyman, David A., Constitutional Prognostication: Does Anybody Know Anything? (July 23, 2014). University of Illinois Law Review, Forthcoming; Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS14-41; Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 14-46. Available at SSRN:

David A. Hyman (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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