COMING DEBATES AT THE SOHO FORUM
“The U.S. government should offer a Medicare-like plan that would be available to all Americans buying health insurance.”
For the affirmative:
Jacob S. Hacker is Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. A regular media commentator and policy adviser, he is the author or co-author of five books, numerous journal articles, and a wide range of popular writings on American politics and public policy. His most recent book, written with Paul Pierson, is American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper—a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a best business book of 2016 according to the management magazine Strategy+Business. Previously, the two wrote the New York Times bestseller Winner-Take- All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Professor Hacker is known for his research and writings regarding health policy, especially his development of the so-called public option. He is also a member of the OECD’s High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
For the negative:
David Goldhill is president and CEO of GSN, which operates a US cable television network seen in 80 million homes and one of the world’s largest digital games companies. GSN is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and AT&T.
Prior to joining GSN, Goldhill was chairman and CEO of Independent Network Holdings, Ltd. (INTH), which founded and operated the TV3 television network in Russia through its sale to the Interros Group in December of 2006. He also served as president and COO of Universal Television Group, a division of Universal Studios. In this capacity, he oversaw all operations at the company’s domestic and international cable television networks (including USA and SciFi), cable and network television studios, first-run syndication business and worldwide television distribution.
Goldhill was also the CFO of Act III Communications, a privately-owned holding company with interests in television stations, movie theaters, magazines, and film/television production. He began his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers.
In 2009, Goldhill published a widely-acclaimed cover story in The Atlantic magazine entitled “How American Health Care Killed My Father.” In addition to numerous op-eds, he is the author of “Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know about Health Care is Wrong” (Knopf, 2013) and “The Real Costs of American Health Care” (Vintage, 2016) and was co-editor of “New York’s Next Health Care Revolution” (Manhattan Institute, 2015). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Leapfrog Group, an employer-sponsored organization dedicated to hospital safety and transparency.
Goldhill graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. degree in history and holds a M.A. degree in history from New York University.
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“All Affirmative Action programs in public colleges and universities that are based on ethnic-racial composition should be abolished.”
For the affirmative:
Peter H. Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law Emeritus at Yale University, where he served briefly as Deputy Dean. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1979, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1977-79), Director of the Washington Office of Consumers Union (1972-77), and consultant to the Center for Study of Responsive Law (1971-72). He also practiced law in New York City (1965-68) and holds degrees from Cornell (B.A. 1962), Harvard Law School (J.D. 1965), N.Y.U. Law School (Ll.M. in International Law 1966), and Harvard University (M.A. in Government 1969). In spring 2017, he is a visiting professor at Berkeley in the law and public policy schools, as he was in the previous three springs.
His major fields of teaching and research have been tort law; public policy; immigration, citizenship, and refugee law; groups, diversity, and law; and administrative law. He has published hundreds of articles on these and a broad range of other public policy topics in a wide variety of scholarly and popular journals. His newest book, A Nation Undecided: Clear Thinking about Five Hard Issues That Divide Us, has just been published by Princeton University Press. It focuses on poverty, immigration, affirmative action, campaign finance, and accommodating religious exemptions from secular social policies.
Earlier books include Why Government Fails So Often, and How It Can Do Better (2014); Understanding America: The Anatomy of An Exceptional Nation (2008) (co-editor with James Q. Wilson); Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples (2006)(with Richard J. Zeckhauser); Meditations of a Militant Moderate: Cool Views on Hot Topics (2006); Foundations of Administrative Law (editor, 2d ed., 2004) Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance (Harvard/Belknap, 2003); The Limits of Law: Essays on Democratic Governance (2000); and many others. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
For the negative:
Michael Meyers, BA, JD, is president and executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition. A Rutgers-trained lawyer, Meyers is the protégé of civil rights icon Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, the psychologist whose studies the United States Supreme Court cited as the basis for its unanimous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling that overruled the odious doctrine of “separate but equal”; the High Court decision declared “separate is inherently unequal” and unconstitutional whenever government requires separate facilities and treatment of students in the field of education on the sole basis of the child’s/student’s race (skin color). Meyers assumed his post at the helm of the New York Civil Rights Coalition in 1991 following his nine years on the national staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—as the NAACP’s youngest ever Assistant National Director—and immediately after serving as Special Assistant to the Chancellor of Higher Education, with the New Jersey Department of Higher Education. Meyers is a former vice president and long time member of the executive committee and national board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on which he served for nearly 25 years. Meyers also served for years as the ACLU’s national Affirmative Action Officer, resigning after the ACLU achieved its affirmative action goals in staff hiring and board diversity. He served even longer on the board of directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Nat Hentoff, the famed author, journalist and civil libertarian, has described Michael Meyers as “Long a civil rights and civil liberties lion.”
“The U.S. government should unilaterally abolish all tariffs and duties on imports and all subsidies to exports, thereby making all reciprocal trade agreements with other countries unnecessary."
For the affirmative:
Donald J. Boudreaux is a Senior Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Mercatus Center Board Member, and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University. He holds the Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center. He specializes in globalization and trade, law and economics, and antitrust economics.
Boudreaux is committed to making economics more accessible to a wider audience, and he has lectured across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe on a wide variety of topics, including antitrust law and international trade. He is the author of The Essential Hayek, as well as, Hypocrites and Half-Wits, and Globalization. His articles appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report as well as numerous scholarly journals. He writes a blog (with Russell Roberts) called Cafe Hayek and a regular column on economics for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has appeared numerous times on John Stossel’s Fox show to discuss a range of economic issues.
Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an associate professor of legal studies and economics at Clemson University. He also serves as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.
Boudreaux earned a PhD in economics from Auburn University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.
For the negative:
Rick Manning is the President Americans for Limited Government. A long time public affairs professional, Rick served as the Public Affairs Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor during the George W. Bush Administration, where he was twice recognized by the Secretary for Exceptional Achievement.
Born and raised in southern California, Rick graduated from the University of Southern California working his way through school running political campaigns. Shortly thereafter, he became a state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association for nine years responsible for the southeastern United States, Maryland and New Jersey. At NRA, Rick worked closely with local groups to pass the groundbreaking concealed carry law in Florida which has subsequently served as a national model.
A veteran of dozens of corporate communications and grassroots campaigns, Manning has emerged as a leading voice in the conservative community with columns appearing in The Hill, Investor’s Business Daily, FoxNews.com and other major publications across the nation.
A resident of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland where he is a former town council member, Rick is active in his local church and is married to his college sweetheart.
“Fifteen million able-bodied adults on government welfare would have a better chance at economic betterment if they were taken off welfare."
For the affirmative:
Tarren Bragdon is president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Government Accountability, which he founded in 2011. FGA focuses on state and federal policy reforms that 1) free people from dependency and poverty by promoting work, and 2) build a free market within health care to lower costs and improve quality.
Bragdon is a nationally recognized expert on health and welfare reform issues. He has testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and House, as well as money state legislative committees, and regularly speaks at public policy conferences.
His work has been featured on Fox News' Sean Hannity show, National Public Television's NOW, in Wall Street Journal editorials and op-eds, and in the New York Post, Boston Globe, New York Times, and on National Public Radio. His research has been published with The Heritage Foundation and The Manhattan Institute.
Bragdon was previously CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center. In September 2010, he received the Thomas Roe Award, given annually by the State Policy Network to the individual with the greatest impact on the nation's free market movement.
From 1996 through 2000, he served in the Maine House of Representatives, the youngest person ever to do so.
Bragdon received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Maine and his Masters of Science of Business degree from Husson University.
For the negative:
Neera Tanden is President and CEO of the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she focuses on how to expand opportunity for all Americans.
Tanden previously served as senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.m and worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, as policy director for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign, as legislative director in Sen. Clinton’s office and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.
She began her career as an associate director for domestic policy in President Bill Clinton’s White House and senior policy adviser to the first lady.
Tanden has appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” PBS’ “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. Most recently, she was named to Elle’s “Women in Washington Power List” and Politico’s “Politico 50”. She has also been included in National Journal’s “Washington’s Most Influential Women,” Washingtonian’s “Most Powerful Women in Washington,” and Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Politics”.
Tanden received her bachelor of science from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School.
“Selfishness is a virtue."
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For the affirmative:
Yaron Brook is the executive chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute and can be heard weekly on The Yaron Brook Show, which airs live on the BlogTalkRadio podcast and on TheBlaze Radio. He is a frequent guest on national radio and television programs and is an internationally sought-after speaker and debater.
In the national best-seller Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, Brook and his co-author Don Watkins argued that the answer to our current economic woes lies not in "trickle-down government" but in Rand's inspiring philosophy of capitalism and self-interest.
Last year, Brook and Watkins released, Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality, that shows the real key to making America a freer, fairer, more prosperous nation is to protect and celebrate the pursuit of success―not pull down the high fliers in the name of equality.
Brook was a columnist at Forbes.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily and many other publications.
Brook was born and raised in Israel. He served as a first sergeant in Israeli military intelligence and became an American citizen in 2003. He earned a BSc in civil engineering from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel and received his MBA and PhD in finance from the University of Texas at Austin. For seven years he was an award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University, and in 1998 he cofounded BH Equity Research, a private equity and hedge fund manager, of which he is managing founder and director.
Brook serves on the boards of the Ayn Rand Institute, the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and CEHE (Center for Excellence in Higher Education), and he is a member of the Association of Private Enterprise Private Enterprise Education and the Mont Pelerin Society.
For the negative:
Gene Epstein is a nationally known economist, and the economics editor of Barron's, America's premier financial magazine. He is also the books editor at Barron’s, and writes a weekly column called “Economic Beat.”
Epstein is the author of Econospinning: How to Read between the Lines when the Media Manipulate the Numbers; and Making Money in Commodities. He has taught economics at the City University of New York and St. John’s University, and worked as a senior economist for the New York Stock Exchange.
Gene has appeared on Fox, CNBC, and BBC TV, and on podcasts that include Russ Roberts’ “EconTalk,” Dave Smith’s “Part of the Problem,” and “The Tom Woods Show”.
He has delivered lectures in venues that include Columbia University, hosted by Students for Liberty; the International House in Tokyo; Loyola University in Baltimore; Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City; the Romanian-American University in Bucharest; the American Center in Moscow; the International Banking Institute in St. Petersburg; and FreedomFest in Las Vegas.
Gene Epstein created the Soho Forum, Libertarian Debate Series, and currently acts as the moderator of the series.
“All the laws requiring those convicted of sex offenses to put their names in a registry should be abolished."
For the affirmative:
Emily Horowitz is an associate professor and chair of the sociology and criminal justice department at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, where she directs a program that helps the formerly incarcerated complete college.
She researches the causes and consequences of fears and hysteria surrounding child protection, and frequently writes about inflammatory media coverage of sex offenders and child abusers, as well as miscarriages of justice related to irrationality about child safety.
She serves as a board member of the National Center for Reason and Justice, a national organization that advocates in criminal cases involving those falsely accused and wrongfully convicted of crimes against children.
Her Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us (2015) draws from personal stories, research, and data to argue mean-spirited and panic-driven sex offender laws, aimed at singling out sex offenders as inhuman and unworthy of civil liberties and human rights, increases fear, destroys the lives of offenders and their families, and fails to protect children.
She is the coeditor of The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know (2014) so which contributed the article, Sex Offenses, Lies, and Politics: The Web of the Registry.
Horowitz received her PhD in sociology from Yale University in 2002.
For the negative:
Marci A. Hamilton is Fox Professor of Practice and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion in the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, which is dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect. She previously held the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
Hamilton has been a vocal critic of extreme religious liberty and successfully challenged the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores (1997). She defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki (7th Cir. 2015). The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.
Hamilton is a leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. Her book Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press) advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations. Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press.
Hamilton has been honored with the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; and the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child abuse and related issues.
Hamilton clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, BA; Pennsylvania State University, MA (English, fiction writing, High Honors), MA (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, JD, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
March, April, May, 2018: TBA
“The U..S. Constitution should be interpreted and applied according to he original meaning communicated to the public by the words of the text."
For the affirmative:
Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center and the director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.
Barnett's latest book is Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (2016). In 2008 he was awarded a Fellowship in Constitutional Studies by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty was published in 2004. His book The Structure of Liberty won the Ralph Gregory Elliot Book Award in 1998.
After attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Barnett worked as a prosecutor in Chicago, Illinois. Barnett's first academic position was at the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He later became the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Law at Boston University, where he served as the faculty adviser for the Federalist Society. Barnett is a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, and Harvard Law School.
For the negative:
Michael C. Dorf is Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He has written dozens of scholarly articles on constitutional law, constitutional interpretation, and related subjects. Dorf is the editor, author, or co-author of six books, including On Reading the Constitution (co-author Laurence Tribe, Harvard University Press) and The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Constitutional Law (with Trevor Morrison, Oxford University Press). In addition to his work intended for specialists, he has long sought to explain legal issues to the wider public. Since 2000, Dorf has written a bi-weekly column, currently appearing on Justia’s Verdict. He also posts less formal legal analysis several times per week on his blog, DorfonLaw. Many of his columns and blog posts are republished in Newsweek.
Dorf holds an A.B. in physics from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. After law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before joining the Cornell faculty in 2008, Professor Dorf taught at Rutgers for three years and at Columbia for thirteen years.