FALL 2000 ISSUE

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Professor Seth Kreimer has dedicated the past twenty years of his career to scholarship and advocacy in the areas of constitutional law, privacy rights, reproductive freedom, and health care rights. The Yale Law graduate joined the Penn Law faculty in 1981 at a time when he was working on a case with Philadelphia's Women's Law Project that challenged Pennsylvania's decision to exclude women seeking abortions from Medicaid benefits. Since that time, Kreimer has contributed legal arguments by filing amicus briefs, serving as co-counsel, guardian ad litem for class action plaintiffs, and as a consultant to almost a dozen non-profit institutions. A sampling of the well known cases with which he has been involved reflect the evolution of legal doctrine in the areas of civil and constitutional rights for two decades: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. Thornburgh (U.S. Supreme Court 1986); Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (U.S. Supreme Court 1992); Maldonado v. Houston (3rd Circuit 1998); Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women v. Knoll (3rd Circuit 1995); and Alliance for the Mentally Ill v. White (E.D. Pa.1991).

In a case that has made recent headlines, and could make legal history, In re Adoption of R.B.F. and R.C.F., Kreimer contributed and argued an amicus brief on behalf of the Women's Law Project and thirty-eight other organizations supporting the rights of gay and lesbian parents to adopt children in "second parent" adoptions. This summer, the Pennsylvania Superior Court en banc heard this case of a Lancaster County lesbian couple seeking to overturn a lower court's decision barring the adoption by the children's second parent of the biological mother's children.

In addition to his dedication to advocacy, Kreimer has been prolific in his scholarly writing and teaching. In his article "Does Pro-Choice Mean Pro-Kevorkian?: An Essay on Roe, Casey and the Right-to-Die," (44 American University Law Review 803 1995), Kreimer concluded 'no,' a view the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with soon after. He explains his conclusion: "First, the abortion controversy is bound up with issues of sex equality that the assisted suicide issue is not. Second, there are legitimate state concerns about the possibility of coercion and manipulation of vulnerable individuals whom everyone agrees are members of the polity who could find themselves shuttled into assisted suicide scenarios against their will."

In 1996 to 1997 Kreimer worked with a team of individuals from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and the School of Nursing to create a course on emerging issues in managed care that has evolved into the Law School course, "Publicly Financed Health Care Law." Kreimer describes it as almost a "lineal descendant" of a course begun at Penn Law by the late Penn Law professor Edward V. Sparer, often remembered as an indefatigable advocate for the poor.

His future research and writing will address issues that examine federalism. Specifically, Kreimer speaks of an ongoing concern with federalism in the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the federal civil rights act that was the basis for a multitude of advances in opportunities for disabled citizens in the United States. "What has evolved," he observes, "is the tendency in the U.S. to segregate citizens with disabilities by institutionalizing them in mental institutions or setting them up in health care institutions that, in effect, require disabled individuals to forfeit their opportunities to be part of society in exchange for medical care." He notes that there are indications that the U.S. Supreme Court is "flirting with" the question of whether the ADA is constitutional.

No matter which direction the wind blows during the remainder of the Clinton Administration or during the successor administration, or in the complexion of this Supreme Court or the next, Seth Kreimer will be keeping tabs, Constitution in hand, and keeping active.                END