Professor of Law
Mercer University law professor Dave Oedel studies and teaches constitutional law, intellectual property, contracts, client counseling and the regulation of core economic activities like transportation and banking.
In 2010, Oedel was appointed by Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue, and again in 2011 by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, to represent Georgia in the 26-state legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). That challenge resulted in NFIB v. Sebelius, a pivotal case in U.S. politics and constitutional law. Oedel and Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett were the only academics serving as counsel in the case.
Oedel focused especially on the States’ Spending Clause claim that, despite widespread skepticism, ultimately garnered the support of seven members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Oedel’s exposition of a key element of that claim was synopsized in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Oedel wrote with Randy Barnett. Oedel attended all three days of oral argument, as well as the day of decision, in the Supreme Court case.
Oedel is presently involved as a liaison between the Obama administration and those States contemplating the possible terms of the States’ new option of whether to assent to Medicaid’s expansion by about half again, reaching into the lower middle class.
Oedel also writes a weekly op-ed for Middle Georgia’s Telegraph newspaper, which is partnered with Mercer University in the innovative Center for Collaborative Journalism. The Center was described by the New York Times on September 9, 2012 as “one of the nation’s boldest journalism experiments.”
Oedel additionally heads a research team of lawyers and economists exploring whether excessive partisanship in American political life may be reduced through independent redistricting. His research on that topic was the subject in 2010 of a panel of national experts on politics at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
Oedel further serves, and has served, as a lawyer, advisor and counselor on public policy, political and personal matters to public officials of both major political parties.
In 2011, Oedel studied and taught at the Tianjin Institute at Nankai University Law School in China on the denationalization of economic sectors. Later in 2011, Oedel returned to China to present at the China Watson Bioforum, comparing Chinese and Western approaches to intellectual property, and detailing the special problems associated with financing high-tech business in China. On his return to China, Professor Oedel also lectured to and then began engaging in an ongoing colloquy with about 150 students and law professors at Central South University. He has been invited to return to China for continuing dialogue on intersecting legal concerns.
In 2010, with Edward J. Pinto, Professor Oedel wrote in the National Law Journal, and appeared on national television, advocating the denationalization of housing finance in the United States. The basic outlines of their suggestions were later adopted by the Obama administration’s Treasury Department in 2011.
Oedel graduated from Haverford College in 1979 and Boston University Law School, magna cum laude, in 1987, where he was editor-in-chief of the Annual Review of Banking Law, G. Joseph Tauro Scholar, Paul J. Liacos Scholar, Edward F. Hennessey Distinguished Scholar, and Class Marshall.