The Welfare State and American Exceptionalism - Event Audio/Video

2011 Annual Student Symposium


2:00 p.m.
Panel III: The Welfare State and American Exceptionalism

With the recent passage of President Barack Obama's health care legislation, it is time to reassess whether it is possible to have a welfare state that meshes with the American constitutional tradition. Is the enduring presence of government entitlements antithetical to our system of government or is there a way to accommodate these programs without changing the historical American relationship between the individual and the government? Will the growing role of government in the United States cause the country to increasingly mirror Europe or can the nation chart an alternate course? If the latter, what would it look like? Does the U.S. Constitution's relative lack of positive rights compared to its counterparts around the world pose problems for proponents of an American welfare state? Is the American suspicion toward state entitlements the product of a longstanding philosophical commitment or the result of historical contingency? Are there currently any constitutional limits on the growth of the welfare state? Should there be?

  • Prof. William P. Marshall, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Neomi Rao, George Mason University School of Law
  • Moderator: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Matthew Glover, Speakers and Panels Vice Chair, University of Virginia Federalist Society

University of Virginia School of Law
Charlottesville, VA

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