Poll Shocker: Majority of Liberal Law Professors Believe Mandate Is Constitutional

This Bloomberg story, based on a poll of 21 constitutional law professors at elite law schools, is getting a surprising amount of play.

The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years.

Only eight of them predicted the court would do so. . . .

Eighteen of the 21 professors said the court’s credibility will be damaged if the insurance requirement — which passed Congress without a single Republican vote — is ruled unconstitutional by a 5-4 majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents.

How was this poll conducted? Here’s what Bloomberg reports:

The Bloomberg News questionnaires were sent to 131 professors at the top law schools in U.S. News’s ranking who have taught or written about constitutional law or have professional experience with constitutional litigation, according to school biographies. Questions were sent to office e-mail addresses listed in faculty directories.

Law schools included were: Columbia University; Duke University; Harvard University; New York University; Northwestern University; Stanford University; the University of California at Berkeley; the University of Chicago; the University of Michigan; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Virginia, and Yale University.

So the story is based on 21 responses to a survey sent to 131 professors. And who were the 21? Bloomberg provides a list:

Respondents to the questionnaire were: [Bruce] Ackerman [Yale]; [Jesse] Choper [Berkeley]; [Charles] Fried [Harvard]; [Dennis] Hutchinson [Chicago]; [Michael] Klarman [Harvard]; [Kermit] Roosevelt [UPenn]; [Christina] Whitman [Michigan]; Guy-Uriel Charles, Duke; Norman Dorsen, NYU; Jamal Greene, Columbia; Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern; Gillian Metzger, Columbia; Anne Joseph O’Connell, California; John David Ohlendorf, Northwestern; Richard Parker, Harvard; David Richards, NYU; Adam Samaha, Chicago; Neil Siegel, Duke; Fred Smith, California; Laurence Tribe, Harvard; G. Edward White, Virginia.

Given this list, the only real surprise in the poll was that two among the 21 thought the mandate should be struck down.