NEWS | April 7, 2014

Harvard law professor to speak in Sacramento and Davis on the Affordable Care Act


Charles Fried, the Harvard Law School professor known for his expertise on liberty and the limits of power, will speak in Davis and Sacramento as the UC Davis School of Medicine’s 2014 Nelson Lecturer in the Humanities. The lecture is co-hosted by the UC Davis School of Law.

Charles Fried will deliver the UC Davis School of Medicine's 2014 Nelson Lectureship in the Humanities Charles Fried will deliver the UC Davis School of Medicine's 2014 Nelson Lectureship in the Humanities

Fried’s address — “The Supreme Court’s 2012 Affordable Care Act Decision: A Window Into the Judicial Mind” — will be delivered twice on Wednesday, April 30: At noon in Davis in the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom of the UC Davis School of Law, and at 6 p.m. in Sacramento in the UC Davis MIND Institute auditorium. The lectures are free and open to the public; RSVPs are requested via e-mail to

In addition to his faculty position at Harvard, Fried has served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan and as a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In his lectures and writing, he is known for linking moral and political philosophy with law, including in cases of torture, privacy and medical experimentation. His many articles and books include Anatomy of Values (1970), Right and Wrong (1978), Modern Liberty (2006) and Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror (with Gregory Fried, 2010). In 2011, he testified before Congress supporting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

“Policymakers can have a difficult time resolving issues that merge law, medicine and ethics, and when those issues have constitutional implications they often come to the Supreme Court,” said Ben Rich, UC Davis professor of bioethics and member of the Nelson lecturer selection committee. “Mr. Fried is an expert who understands the nation’s highest court and can provide us with insights into how those decisions are finally made, focusing on the historic health-care reform law.”

The Nelson Lectureship was established to honor the legacy of Camillus and Elizabeth Nelson, Woodland, Calif., pioneers who were dedicated to bringing thought-provoking speakers to the region.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit the UC Davis School of Medicine website.