David Orentlicher

David Orentlicher

Director, UNLV Health Law Program

Judge Jack and Lulu Lehman Professor of Law

David Orentlicher's image
Areas of expertise:

Health Law, Constitutional Law, Presidential Power, Supreme Court reform


David Orentlicher is the Judge Jack and Lulu Lehman Professor of Law at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law and director of the UNLV Health Law Program. Widely recognized for his expertise in health law and constitutional law, Dr. O has testified before Congress, had his scholarship cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has served on many national, state, and local commissions. He also was a health policy adviser for the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School, Dr. O is author of Matters of Life and Death, co-author of Health Care Law and Ethics, and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Health Law. He has published numerous articles and essays on a wide range of topics, including Supreme Court reform, health care reform, physician aid in dying, reproductive decisions, affirmative action, and presidential power. Dr. O’s work has appeared in leading professional journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as well as in the New York Times, Time, USA Today, CNN Opinion, the Chicago Tribune, and other major newspapers.

Dr. O came to UNLV Law from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana University School of Medicine. He also has taught as an adjunct or visiting professor at University of Chicago Law School, Northwestern University School of Medicine, and Princeton University. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a former president of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

In addition to his academic experience, Dr. O brings important hands-on experience. He previously directed the American Medical Association's Division of Medical Ethics, where he drafted the AMA’s first patient’s bill of rights and many other guidelines relied upon by courts and government agencies, and he has practiced both law and medicine.

Since November 2020, Dr. O has served in the Nevada Assembly, and between 2002 and 2008, he served in the Indiana House of Representatives. He has authored legislation to reduce deaths from opioid overdose, promote job creation, protect children from abuse and neglect, and make health care coverage more affordable. His most recent book, Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive, draws on his experience with partisan conflict as an elected official and his expertise in constitutional law to discuss reforms that would address the country’s high levels of political polarization.

In the News

Faculty Notable

  • January 24, 2022
    In this podcast of "Let's Get Psyched," Dr. Orentlicher discusses the increasing legalization of physician-assisted suicide in the United States and the moral significance of legalizing the practice. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/120-physician-assisted-suicide/id1...
  • October 26, 2021
    In this piece, David Orentlicher discusses how the Supreme Court's majority voting rule excludes minority viewpoints and how a return to the Court's past norm of unanimous opinions would ensure that its decisions give voice to all of its justices and the unique perspectives that each of them brings.