March 6, 2020

Contained? Government Authority During a Health Crisis


On January 31st, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a national public health emergency in response to the global spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). With the warnings from health officials that the virus will “almost certainly” spread in the United States becoming reality, what legal authorities do federal and state governments have at their disposal to deal with this outbreak? Is a quarantine possible? Are there war-time precedents that the government can rely upon to force private industry to produce medical supplies? And what limitations on government action exist to ensure that civil liberties aren’t infringed and that the health crisis isn’t misused for political reasons?

Listen to the call.

Featured Speakers:

Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, University of California Irvine School of Law

Stephen Vladeck, A. Dalton Cross Professor of Law, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Debra Perlin, Director of Policy and Program, ACS, Moderator

Resources on Government Authority During a Health Crisis