ObamaCare and Problems of Legal Scholarship

In his recent article on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, David Hyman explores why law professors failed to accurately predict the Supreme Court’s decision about the constitutionality of the Act. The article is important in its own right, but it also exposes broader problems in legal scholarship. Too often, legal scholars perform their work backwards: they set out with a conclusion in mind,then do the research to support that predetermined outcome. This distortion of the research process is not intentional. Law professors are rarely trained in how to design a proper research methodology, and the different hats that law professors are forced to wear necessarily generate confusion. But the consequences of this distortion are real: law professors may lose their objectivity; they may lose sight of contradictory positions; and in the case of public predictions—like those on Obamacare—they may lose a good bit of face aswell.

The full text of this Article is available to download as a PDF.