Topic for Fall 2020 – Pandemic Law

COVID-19 is a global environmental risk. In the United States, the states have primary responsibility for fighting the pandemic. The public health law actions that the states are taking are classic administrative law. The federal response is also through the administrative law system, which is augmented by the President’s national security powers. The seminar will review public health as administrative law, the constitutional and caselaw framework for public health law, and the applicable national security framework. We will look at the basic epidemiology of communicable disease transmission and the history of pandemics. We will then look at the management of previous pandemics and pandemic scares, and the current management of COVID-19. Student papers will focus on aspects of the legal response to COVID-19 and the larger impact of COVID-19 on society. These may include COVID-19 vaccine issues, managing COVID-19 in school or the workplace, contact tracing and testing, personal restrictions, restrictions on businesses and churches, state court review of state public health orders, social justice issues, and other topics developed during our class discussions.

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