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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Why We Need "Death Panels"

Maxwell J. Mehlman - Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law and Professor of Bioethics, School of Medicine; Director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Friday November 5, 2010
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Inamori Center
Case Western Reserve University

During the debate over passage of health insurance reform legislation in Congress, there were many claims that reform would lead to government-organized "death panels" which would decide whether patients could receive life-saving treatments. The charges were false, but they addressed a real phenomenon: extensive claims by many credentialed experts that care does need to be rationed and that some people should not receive treatments because the odds and benefits of success relative to the cost of treatment are too low. In economic terms, the argument is that only so much, and no more, should be spent on a "quality-adjusted life-year." Professor Mehlman believes more needs to be said about this topic. He chose the provocative title – and it will be interesting to see what he means by it!

On Fridays a few spaces are available for visitors with mobility concerns. Parking options for visitors from beyond campus include the Severance Hall parking garage on East Boulevard, the small lot on Adelbert Road just uphill from Euclid Ave, and other lots on campus.

More About Our Guest....

Maxwell J. Mehlman, JD, is Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law and Director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He received his JD from Yale Law School in 1975, and a BA from Reed College in 1970. Between college and law school, Professor Mehlman was a Rhodes Scholar, earning his second bachelor's degree from Oxford University in 1972. After law school, he practiced with the Washington, DC firm of Arnold & Porter, where he specialized in federal regulation of medical technology. He joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1984. Since 1986, he has been the director of the Law-Medicine Center. He is the co-author of Access to the Genome: The Challenge to Equality; co-editor, with Tom Murray, of the Encyclopedia of Ethical, Legal and Policy Issues in Biotechnology; co-author of Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy, the first casebook on genetics and law, now in its second edition; author of Wondergenes: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Society, published in 2003 by the Indiana University Press. Most recently, he authored The Price of Perfection: Individualism and Society in the Era of Biomedical Enhancement, published in 2009 by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

November 12: Paul Schroeder, Visitng Professor of Political Science: Chinese Labor Policy.

November 19: Jessica Green, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Global Responses to Greenhouse Gases.

December 3: Paul Ernsberger, Associate Professor of Nutrition: Health At Any Size.

January 14: Doug Brattebo, Hiram College: The Obama Presidency (Take 3).

January 21: Elliot Posner, Associate Professor of Political Science: Europe, the EU, and the Euro

January 28: Martha Woodmansee, Professor of English and Law: Intellectual Property and the Commerce in Ideas.

February 4: Marixa Lasso, Associate Professor of History: Bicentennials in Latin America and the history of constitutional government.

February 11: Special Inamori Center Event Moderated by Shannon French

February 18: Diane Anderson, Executive Director, and Iwan Alexander, Faculty Director, Great Lakes Energy Institute: News from the Great Lakes Energy Institute

February 25: Gene Matthews, Director of Facilities Services, CWRU: "Case Recycles," and How That Works.

March 4: Shirley M. Moore, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing: Even After a Heart Attack - The Challenge of Encouraging Healthy Behavior

March 11: No Session, Spring Break

March 18: Special Inamori Center Event

March 25: Mark Votruba, Associate Professor of Economics: The Social Effects of Economic Dislocation

April 1: Jacqueline Lipton, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Law, Technology and the Arts: Privacy and Online Social Networks.

April 8: Special Inamori Center Event

April 15: Mark Naymik, Reporter, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio's Budget Battle

April 22: Jon Groetzinger, Visiting Professor of Law and Director, China Legal Programs: Developing the Legal Profession in China.

The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall. Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made. On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion. Overflow parking is also available in the Severance Hall parking garage on East Boulevard.

Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building. The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch. On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.

For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see

November 1, 2010

Upcoming Events

"Under Color of Law"

Julian Bond, former Chairman, NAACP, Case Western Reserve University School of Law Frank J. Battisti Memorial Lecture, November 11, 2010, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Ford Auditorium, Allen Medical Library, Corner of Adelbert Road and Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH

Julian Bond, a world-renowned member of the U.S. civil rights movement, will speak on the role the law has played in both encouraging and thwarting that movement, beginning with the seminal Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). While Brown in many ways gave life to the civil rights movement in this country, Mr. Bond will discuss how legal developments continuing to the present day have served at times in fact to discourage progress in that movement. His presentation will include his personal involvement with legal developments in the civil rights movement and his own case involving his seat in the Georgia legislature -- a case that ultimately ended up before the Supreme Court.

Government Speech: The Government's Ability to Compel and Restrict Speech

Featuring Adam Babich, Professor, Tulane University School of Law, Caroline Corbin, Associate Professor, University of Miami School of Law, Mary Jean Dolan, Assistant Professor, John Marshall Law School-Chicago, Jonathan Entin, Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Abner Greene, Leonard F. Manning Professor, Fordham University School of Law, Peter Joy, Professor, Washington University, St. Louis, School of Law, Douglas Laycock, Professor, University of Michigan School of Law, Helen Norton, Associate Professor University of Colorado Law School, Frederick Schauer, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor, University of Virginia, November 19, 2010, 9:00 a.m-4:15 p.m., Moot Court Room, Case Western Reserve School of Law, 11075 East Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106

The 2010-2011 Law Review Symposium will address limits on government speech and the government's ability to claim speech as its own in both restricting and compelling speech. Panels will examine 1) the intersection between government speech and the establishment clause (with a focus on the implications of Salazar v. Buono); 2) the extent to which the government can control school curricula and restrict the work of law school clinics; 3) the extent to which the government can compel speech by denominating the speech as its own.

November 2010











































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