Jonathan H. Adler

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Jonathan H. Adler
Jonathan H. Adler 2017-03-14.jpg
Born (1969-11-03) November 3, 1969 (age 49)
Academic background
EducationYale University (BA)
Antonin Scalia Law School (JD)
Academic work
Sub-disciplineAdministrative law
Constitutional law
Environmental law
InstitutionsCompetitive Enterprise Institute
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Cato Institute

Jonathan H. Adler (born November 3, 1969) is an American legal commentator and law professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He contributes to the widely read weblog "The Volokh Conspiracy", is frequently cited in the American media, and has been recognized as one of the most cited professors in the field of environmental law.[1] His research is also credited with inspiring litigation that challenged the Obama Administration's implementation of the Affordable Care Act, resulting in the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell.[2]


Adler was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Friends' Central School before attending Yale University, where he majored in History, graduating magna cum laude in May 1991 with distinction in History. After working several years at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Adler attended law school at the George Mason University School of Law. He attended at night while continuing to work at CEI. He was the Articles Editor for the George Mason Law Review from 1998–1999. He graduated summa cum laude in May 2000 as the class valedictorian.[3]

Adler is currently a tenured professor at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)'s School of Law where he teaches courses in environmental, regulatory, and constitutional law. He is Director of the law school's Center for Business Law & Regulation.[4] In 2011, Adler was named the inaugural holder of the Johan Verheij Memorial Professorship at CWRU.[5]

Adler is a contributing editor to National Review Online and a regular contributor to "The Volokh Conspiracy", a popular legal blog founded by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. He blogged anonymously under the pseudonym "Juan Non-Volokh" at "The Volokh Conspiracy" until May 1, 2006.[6]

Adler serves on the advisory board of the NFIB Legal Foundation, the academic advisory board of the Cato Supreme Court Review, and the Environmental Law Reporter and ELI Press Advisory Board of the Environmental Law Institute.[3]

In 2004, Adler received the Paul M. Bator Award, given annually by the Federalist Society for Law and Policy Studies to an academic under 40 for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and commitment to students. In 2007, the Case Western Reserve University Law Alumni Association awarded Adler their annual "Distinguished Teacher Award."[3]

Adler clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1991–2000, he worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market research and advocacy group in Washington, D.C., where he directed the Institute's environmental studies program, and worked on a wide variety of environmental policy matters.[3] Although a proponent of "free market environmentalism," Adler has also endorsed the imposition of a carbon tax and other measures to address the problem of climate change.[7] He is also credited with helping to convert some former climate change skeptics to believers in the threat posed by global warming.[8] Adler is currently one of the most cited law professors in the fields of administrative and environmental law.[9]

Adler supported former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson in the 2008 presidential election.[10] In 2012, Adler headed a screening committee appointed by Ohio governor John Kasich to assist him in selecting an appointee to fill an open seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.[11] Adler again participated in the selection process to fill an open Ohio Supreme Court seat in 2017.

Role in Health Care Litigation[edit]

Adler's research and writing on the Affordable Care Act is credited with inspiring litigation that led to a Supreme Court challenge to the lawfulness of tax credits in states that failed to create their own health insurance exchanges.[2] Professor Adler first wrote an article for a 2011 health care symposium in which he argued that the text of the Affordable Care Act did not authorize tax credits in states that refused to set up their own health insurance exchanges.[12] At the time this did not seem like a significant observation as the Supreme Court had not yet decided NFIB v. Sebelius and it appeared that most states would voluntarily create their own exchanges.[13] As states started to resist implementing the Affordable Care Act, Adler co-authored several pieces with Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute arguing that an IRS rule authorizing tax credits in states that did not create their own exchanges wouldbe unlawful.[14][15] Adler and Cannon's arguments were controversial, and prompted significant academic response.[16] Adler and Cannon's work also prompted several lawsuits challenging the lawfulness of the tax credits, including Halbig v. Sebelius and King v. Burwell. Newsweek proclaimed these cases could "topple ObamaCare."[17] Adler and Cannon filed amicus briefs defending their research in several of the cases. In the end, however, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Adler and Cannon's interpretation by a 6–3 vote in King v. Burwell. Adler's scholarship has also been relied upon in other Supreme Court cases, and was cited by Chief Justice Roberts in his City of Arlington v. FCC dissent.[18]


In 2001, Adler moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he met his wife, Christina. He currently lives in Ohio, with his wife and two daughters.[3]


  • Business and the Roberts Court, Editor (2016), ISBN 978-0199859344
  • A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case, co-author (2013), ISBN 978-1137363732
  • Rebuilding the Ark: New Perspectives on Endangered Species Act Reform (2011), ISBN 978-0844743912
  • Ecology, Liberty & Property: A Free Market Environmental Reader, Editor (2000) ISBN 978-1889865027
  • The Costs of Kyoto: Climate Change Policy and Its Implications, Editor (1997), ISBN 978-1889865010
  • Environmentalism at the Crossroads: Green Activism in America (1995), ISBN 978-0865875708


  • What gives Congress the authority to regulate abortion?: Washington Post Article (2015)
  • Taxation without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits under the PPACA (with Michael Cannon), 23 Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine 23 (2013). Digital Commons
  • Eyes on a Climate Prize: Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization, 35 Harvard Environmental Law Review 1 (2011). Scholarly Commons
  • The Rest Is Silence: Chevron Deference, Agency Jurisdiction, and Statutory Silences (with Nathan Sales), 2009 University of Illinois Law Review 101 (2009). Scholarly Commons
  • Money or Nothing: The Adverse Environmental Consequences of Uncompensated Land-Use Controls, 49 Boston College Law Review 301 (2008). Scholarly Commons
  • When Is Two a Crowd: The Impact of Federal Action on State Environmental Regulation', 31 Harvard Environmental Law Review 67 (2007).
  • The Green Costs of Kelo: Economic Development Takings and Environmental Protection (with Ilya Somin), 84 Washington University Law Review (2006). Scholarly Commons
  • Reckoning with Rapanos: Revisiting "Waters of the United States" and the Limits of Federal Wetland Regulation, 14 Missouri Environmental Law & Policy Review 1 (2006). Scholarly Commons
  • Back to the Future of Conservation: Changing Perceptions of Property Rights & Environmental Protection, 1 NYU Journal of Law & Liberty 987 (2005). Scholarly Commons
  • Jurisdictional Mismatch in Environmental Federalism, 14 NYU Environmental Law Journal 130 (2005). Scholarly Commons
  • Is Morrison Dead? Assessing a Supreme Drug (Law) Overdose, 9 Lewis & Clark Law Review 751 (2005). Scholarly Commons
  • Judicial Federalism and the Future of Federal Environmental Regulation, 90 Iowa Law Review 377 (2005). Scholarly Commons
  • Conservation through Collusion: Antitrust as an Obstacle to Marine Resource Conservation, 61 Washington and Lee Law Review 3 (2004). Scholarly Commons
  • Fables of the Cuyahoga: Reconstructing a History of Environmental Protection, 14 Fordham Environmental Law Journal 89 (2002). Scholarly Commons
  • Legal Obstacles to Private Ordering in Marine Fisheries, 8 Roger Williams University Law Review 9 (2002). Scholarly Commons
  • Let 50 Flowers Bloom: Transforming the States into Laboratories of Environmental Policy, 31 Environmental Law Reporter 11284 (2001).
  • The Ducks Stop Here? The Environmental Challenge to Federalism, 9 Supreme Court Economic Review 205 (2001). (Selected as a finalist for inclusion in Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, as one of the ten best articles on land use or environmental law in 2001.) Scholarly Commons
  • Free and Green: A New Approach to Environmental Protection, 24 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 653 (2001). (Selected as a finalist for inclusion in Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, as one of the ten best articles on land use or environmental law in 2001.) Scholarly Commons
  • Stand or Deliver: Citizen Suits, Standing, and Environmental Protection, 12 Duke Environmental Law & Public Policy Forum 39 (2001). Scholarly Commons
  • The Cartagena Protocol and Biological Diversity: Biosafe or Bio-Sorry? 12 Georgetown University International Environmental Law Review 761 (2000). Scholarly Commons
  • More Sorry than Safe: Assessing the Precautionary Principle and the Proposed International Biosafety Protocol, 35 Texas International Law Journal 173 (2000). Scholarly Commons
  • Wetlands, Waterfowl, and the Menace of Mr. Wilson: Commerce Clause Jurisprudence and the Limits of Federal Wetlands Regulation, 29 Environmental Law 1 (1999). Scholarly Commons
  • The Green Aspects of Printz: The Revival of Federalism at Its Implications for Environmental Law, 6 George Mason Law Review 573 (1998). Scholarly Commons


  1. ^ Law School Rankings,; accessed October 31, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "If Obamacare is overturned, a Case Western law professor gets the credit". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jonathan H. Adler official website; accessed October 31, 2014.
  4. ^ Jonathan H. Adler profile Archived February 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed October 31, 2014.
  5. ^ "Jonathan Adler to hold new Verheij chair at law school". Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  6. ^ The Volokh Conspiracy website; accessed October 31, 2014.
  7. ^ "Climate Converts: The Conservatives Who Are Switching Sides on Warming – Yale E360". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Lerner, Sharon (April 28, 2017). "How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science". The Intercept. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "Brian Leiter's Law School Reports". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Bazelon, Emily (November 26, 2007) On the advice of counsel,; accessed October 31, 2014.
  11. ^ Profile, Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Adler, Jonathan (January 1, 2011). "Cooperation, Commandeering, or Crowding Out? : Federal Intervention and State Choices in Health Care Policy". Faculty Publications.
  13. ^ Adler, Jonathan H. (January 22, 2014). "How "the case that could topple Obamacare" began". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  14. ^ Cannon, Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. (November 16, 2011). "Another ObamaCare Glitch". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  15. ^ H., Adler, Jonathan; F., Cannon, Michael (2013). "Taxation without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits under the PPACA". Health Matrix: The Journal of Law-Medicine. 23 (1). ISSN 0748-383X.
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  17. ^ "The Case That Could Topple Obamacare". Newsweek. December 17, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "City of Arlington v. FCC" (PDF).