Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Federalist Society St. Louis Smoking Ban Debate Press Release

On Tuesday (3/17) at 7pm CT, the Federalist Society will host an anticipated debate on the proposed local and statewide public smoking bans. Arguing the pro-ban side will be GASP founding member Martin Pion and making anti-ban arguments will be CATO Institute chairman and DC v. Heller co-counsel Robert Levy as well as St. Louis Federal Reserve economist and St. Louis University economics professor Michael R. Pakko. Exploring the merits and constitutionality of recent highly controversial smoking ban proposals, the debate promises a lively discussion of the merits and constitutionality and boasts such high-profile invitees as Mayor Slay of St. Louis, Mayor Joseph L. Adams of University City and Mayor Harold Dielmann of Creve Coeur among others.

RSVP to me if you plan to attend or send someone in your stead. (Event details and speaker bios copied below.)

NCRC Public Relations
2760 Eisenhower Ave., 4th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-5004 x. 120

You’re Invited
to a Smoking Ban Debate
Hosted by the Federalist Society

Who: Bob Levy (Anti-Ban) - Cato Institute chairman of the board of directors, former clerk to Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, co-counsel in DC v. Heller

Martin Pion (Pro-Ban) - degree in Physics and Math from London University, England, founding member of Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution)

Michael R. Pakko (Anti-Ban) - Research Officer and Economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Research Fellow at the Show-Me Institute in St. Louis and former Adjunct Asst. Professor of Economics at St. Louis University

What: A debate over the merits and constitutionality of smoking bans generally and whether St. Louis or the State of Missouri should ban smoking from all public places.

When: Tuesday, March 17, 2009
6:30pm CT catered dinner
7-8pm CT debate

Where: Regional Arts Commission 6128 Delmar Blvd.St. Louis, MO 63112

To RSVP to the debate or to schedule an interview with Mr. Levy or Mr. Pakko, please contact Kerry Brown at 703-683-5004 x.120 or

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Join the St. Louis Federalist Society on Tuesday, March 17 at the Regional Arts Commission on 6128 Delmar Blvd. for a lively debate regarding smoking bans generally and whether St. Louis or the State of Missouri should ban smoking from all public places. Dinner, catered by Joe Boccardi's, will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. The hour-long debate will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m.
Parking is available behind the Pageant and/or the Metrolink lot. Metered parking is also available.
Our expert panelists include: Robert Levy of the CATO Institute, Martin Pion of Missouri GASP, and Michael Pakko of the Federal Reserve and the Show-Me Institute.As always, everyone is welcome, not just Federalist Society members and regulars. Dinner costs $15.00, but merely the debate attending is free.
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Bob Levy is chairman of the board of directors at the Cato Institute. He joined Cato as senior fellow in constitutional studies in 1997 after 25 years in business. Bob also sits on boards of the Institute for Justice, the Federalist Society, and the George Mason law school. He received his PhD in business from the American University in 1966, then founded CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of investment information and software. After leaving CDA in 1991, Bob went to George Mason, where he was chief articles editor of the law review. He received his JD degree in 1994. The next two years he clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, both in Washington, DC.For many years, Bob was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, National Review, and many other publications. He has also discussed public policy on national radio and TV programs, including ABC's Nightline, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, MSNBC's Hardball, and NBC's Today Show. Bob's latest book, co-authored with William Mellor and published in May 2008, is The Dirty Dozen: How 12 Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom. Most recently, Bob served as co-counsel in District of Columbia v. Heller, the successful Second Amendment challenge to D.C.'s gun ban.

Martin Pion has a degree in Physics and Math. from London University, England, where he was born. In early 1977, he got a job transfer from ITT's central research lab. to a new fiber optics communications facility in Roanoke, VA. Subsequently, he moved to McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., St. Louis, to design and manage a clean room facility, making semiconductor laser diodes for a space communications program. Since early 1990, Mr. Pion has been self-employed selling specialized scientific software. Mr. Pion became sensitive to secondhand smoke as an adult in England but it wasn't a problem at work because very few professional staff smoked, and there was no air conditioning in the offices, which also had openable outside windows for ventilation. Things changed dramatically after emigrating to the U.S. He found himself sharing a two-person windowless office with a colleague who smoked Camels. Missouri GASP [Group Against Smoking Pollution] formed in 1984 after a meeting in Mr. Pion's home in support of Paul Smith, who needed help in his lawsuit against his employer, Western Electric, a subsidiary of AT&T. Secondhand smoke is now deemed a major air pollutant, and smoke-free environments have become the norm in many places. Missouri, and particularly metro St. Louis, remains behind the times, but Mr. Pion has no doubt that eventually it will follow suit, and when we look back we will wonder why it took so long.

Michael R. Pakko is a Research Officer and Economist at the St. Louis Fed. He joined the bank staff in 1993 and has worked in the fields of international economics, macroeconomics and regional economic analysis Dr. Pakko received his bachelor's degree in socioeconomic policy problems and economics from Michigan State University in 1984 and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester in 1994. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Dr. Pakko held positions as research assistant at the University of Rochester's Department of Economics, analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Dr. Pakko has recently joined the St. Louis Fed's CRE8 which is the Center for Regional Economics. The role of CRE8 is to provide and facilitate rigorous economic analysis of policy issues affecting local, state, and regional economies--particularly those in the Eighth Federal Reserve District.

In addition to his responsibilities with the St. Louis Fed, Dr. Pakko is a Research Fellow with the Show-Me Institute in St. Louis, and he has formerly served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of economics at St. Louis University.