The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences


"The Separation of Powers and the Executive's Defense of Congressional Enactments" with U.S. Solicitor General Donal Verrilli this Thursday May 3rd at 4:30 PM





The 2009 Affordable Healthcare Act or "Obamacare", one of the most groundbreaking pieces of legislation in American history, will have its ultimate fate decided by the Supreme Court; charged with defending the bill’s constitutional viability is U. S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will draw upon his personal experiences in office to discuss the delicate balance existing between the divided branches of government. He will speak to the role of the Executive Branch, specifically the Solicitor General, in defending Congressional enactments when their constitutionality is called into question by the third branch, the Supreme Court.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. is currently serving as the 46th Solicitor General of the United States. Verrilli previously served as Deputy Counsel to President Obama and as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his government service, he was a partner for many years in Jenner & Block, and co-chaired the firm’s Supreme Court practice, where he handled numerous cases in the Supreme Court and courts of appeals.


Leadership in Public Law Dinner Discussion Series Begins Monday, April 2nd at 5 PM

State attorneys general are leaders in many large state and federal controversies. Their roles span the full range of law and public policy: crime, public health, consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental regulation. State attorneys general also act as the lawyer for their state government in state and federal courts. They occupy a crucial and contested space on the boundaries among the branches of state government and between the federal and state governments.

A new Rockefeller Center Spring 2012 dinner discussion series will study the opportunities for public leadership presented by these roles and address such questions as:

Panel on Saturday 2/25: "Public Lawyering: Which Paths Can I Take?" with Dinner

The Dartmouth Law Journal is a student-run organization, and they will be hosting their main event of the winter term this weekend.  This is the information about that program, as submitted by the Dartmouth Law Journal.  A great opportunity to learn about different ways you can translate a law degree into a career.

Public Lawyering: Which Paths Can I Take?
over a Yama's Dinner
Saturday, February 25th from 6-7pm
Haldeman 041

Come hear about six different career paths in public law over a Yama's Dinner.
There will be opportunities to ask questions and speak directly with the panelists afterwards!

Moderator: Sonu Bedi
Assistant Professor of Government, Dartmouth College 

1. Laurie Beyranevand
Topic: Vermont Legal Aid
Associate Professor of Law
2. Alex Banks
Topic: Domestic and Youth-related Issues
Staff Attorney and Assistant Professor of Law, South Royalton Legal Clinic

3. Robert B. Donin
Topic: Higher Education (student affairs, affirmative action, and intellectual property)
Dartmouth General Counsel

"Healthcare Litigation: US States v. US Government" with VA Solicitor General on Feb. 15 at 4:30 PM

America’s health care future lies in the balance, and Virginia’s Solicitor General E. Duncan Getchell, Jr., is one of the key figures in the legislative battle surrounding “Obamacare.” The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the subject of numerous lawsuits; Getchell was instrumental in the Commonwealth of VA v. Sebelius case, where the State of Virginia claimed the new health care bill infringed on states’ rights.

Getchell will speak of the current litigation between the 28 states, including Virginia, and the U.S. Government, specifically:


  • The arguments against the constitutionality of the health care mandate are doctrinally modest.
  • The arguments in favor of Congress's power to require a citizen to purchase a good or service from another citizen lack principled limits and are therefore doctrinally extravagant.
  • The novelty of the claimed power gives rise to a presumption against Congress having the power.


PRS students testify at NH Legal Advice and Referral Center

Rockefeller Center Policy Research Shop students Zheng-Yi Yang '14, Danielle Unterschutz '14, and Ayushi Narayan '14 posing with Connie Rakowsky, Director of the New Hampshire Legal Advice and Referral Center in Concord, NH on February 8, 2012.

Yale Professor of International Law to Give Lecture on Thursday, January 12th at 4:30 PM

Yale Professor of International Law to give the Timbers ’37 Lecture addressing a crisis of accountability and legitimacy in international lawmaking.

Due to the unchecked power of the presidency by Congress, the Courts, and the citizens of the United States, America faces a crisis of accountability and legitimacy in international lawmaking.

  • How have we allowed the president to attain this limitless power?
  • How can we pass laws legitimately under the procedures outlined by the constitution with the insurmountable political and legal hurdles?
  • How can we check the president’s power and legitimize effective international lawmaking? 
  • Does our constitution provide a solution to the current crisis or must we revise the procedures framed by our founding fathers?

Oona A. Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at the Yale Law School. Under Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Wald she served as a Law Clerk and held fellowships at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and Center for the Ethics and the Professions.

2011 Constitution Day: Rockefeller Center Hosts "Virtual Event" Win $50 Gift Card, Watch Videos, Pick Up a Pocket Constitution

Constitution Day commemorates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, the day when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. Constitution Day is considered the birthday of the U.S. government.

In honor of Constitution Day 2011, the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College is taking the celebration in an exciting new direction, providing access at your convenience to previous Constitution Day lectures at Dartmouth via a custom YouTube playlist. To access the video playlist, along with educational resources related to the Constitution and Constitution Day, visit our web site.

Now through Wednesday, September 21st: one lucky person who takes our Online Constitution Quiz will win a $50 gift card to!

Looking for a Spring 2011 Public Policy Course? Explore Law, Health Policy, or Leadership

PBPL 26: Health Policy and Clinical Practice
Professor Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, 11S: 10

Health care in the United States costs more than in other countries, but is it better? Answering this question requires understanding a wide range of subjects, including the pathophysiology of disease, clinical decision making, epidemiology, and public policy. This course provides an introduction to these tools. We will also consider additional questions: Is more screening & early diagnosis the best way to stay healthy? Does more treatment always help people feel better? And how has the "Dartmouth School" of health policy contributed to the debate? Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 28/GOVT 30.03: Law, Courts and Public Policy
Professors Serena Laws and David Glick, 11S: 2A

The Rockefeller Center Celebrates Law Day 2010

This year’s Law Day was a two-day event that examined hate crimes and the legislation on the state and federal level to prosecute it. The activities were sponsored by the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Dartmouth Legal Studies Faculty Group and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association, and included panel discussions, and a public lecture.

On Thursday, April 29, the Stephen R. Volk '57 Lecture honoring Law Day featured Judge John Mott ’81, associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, who gave a lecture titled "Hate Crime and Civil Rights Violations in the United States - the Law Enforcement Response."

Mott was appointed to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia in 2000 by President Clinton and has spent over 20 years in the courtroom as a public defender, federal civil rights prosecutor, and trial judge. Mott graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1981. He was a captain of the ski team and a member of the senior society, Casque and Gauntlet.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences