Charles Fried lectures DLP class on the Affordable Care Act

May 09, 2012

On Friday, April 13, Charles Fried, former U.S. Solicitor General and Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, addressed Northeastern University’s Doctorate in Law and Policy (LPD) program. Fried shared his views of the recent U.S. Supreme Court arguments over the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the history and current practice of federalism.

After listening to Fried’s lecture, Susan Hohenhaus, LPD candidate, commented: “Coming from the profession that serves as the safety net for the nation’s healthcare safety net, emergency nursing, I found the remarks of Professor Charles Fried enlightening and informative. In particular I found his firm assertion of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be heartening even though he was not entirely confident that the Supreme Court would rule in its favor.” Hohenhaus went on to note: “The most interesting thing I learned from Professor Fried’s lecture was that Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to tax and spend for the general welfare of the people; that the ACA and the Individual Mandate could have been done under this tax rule.”

Susan Jameson-Fernandes, another student in the program, remarked that Fried confirmed her standpoint on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act: “After having the honor of hearing Fried’s lecture, I am convinced that the individual mandate is constitutional based on his argument that ‘what is being regulated is the healthcare industry; health insurance is just one payment modality within this enormous and integrated system.’ As he points out, to compare health care reform to forcing people to purchase a product like broccoli is just false since over a five year period 99% of the U.S. population will have a connection to our health care system.”

Doctorate in Law and Policy

The LPD program is structured so that coursework and the doctoral thesis may be completed in two years. Classes meet one weekend per month in Boston, and the learning continues online throughout the rest of the month. The LPD program’s unique hybrid format encourages collaboration within and between cohorts. Every year, a committee chooses a select group of doctoral students are to begin the program. All students follow the same schedule through eight consecutive terms.


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Northeastern University is a global university with a tradition of partnership and engagement that creates an innovative, distinctive approach to education and research. Northeastern integrates classroom studies with experiential learning opportunities in 70 countries, and pursues use-inspired research with a focus on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability.