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Category: Professor contribution

True Causes of Racial Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic

True Causes of Racial Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic

To the shock of those unfamiliar with racial health disparities in the United States, African Americans (and other racial minorities) have been infected with, and died from, COVID-19 at a much higher rate than white Americans. The explanation given by Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and high profile member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force), Dr. Jerome M. Adams (United States Surgeon General), and other health professionals is that African Americans…

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COVID Lays Bare the Need for Attending to Second Amendment Theory

COVID Lays Bare the Need for Attending to Second Amendment Theory

As angry protesters, some clad in tactical gear and armed with semi-automatic rifles, storm state capitols to decry COVID-related orders, it’s worth asking why the Second Amendment resides in our Bill of Rights. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that it was there because the founding fathers wanted to protect the existence of citizen militias. But the reason for codifying the right, said the five-Justice majority, did not confine its substantive scope—of law-abiding citizens “to keep and…

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The Dormant Commerce Clause and COVID-19 State-Ordered Business Closures

The Dormant Commerce Clause and COVID-19 State-Ordered Business Closures

Parties have begun filing lawsuits seeking to “reopen” their states. These lawsuits challenge business closures and stay-at-home orders mandated by state and local governments. The Supreme Court has acknowledged, in the due process context, “the authority of a State to enact quarantine laws and ‘health laws of every description.’” Beyond due process, however, at least one of these lawsuits has raised dormant commerce clause issues, contending that, by ordering businesses to close, the state is unconstitutionally interfering with Congress’ Article…

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HOAs and Residents with COVID-19

HOAs and Residents with COVID-19

The coronavirus quarantine has led many states to issue stay-at-home orders on the plausible theory that doing so will cause individuals to be isolated from others and less likely to catch or spread the virus. Yet for many people, “home” is not a place of complete isolation, but involves shared space where residents come into repeated contact with each other in order to wash clothes, step outside, or pick up an Instacart order. Condominium complexes, for example, entail sole ownership…

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COVID-19 Phobias About Health, Finances, Law, Leadership, and Loneliness

COVID-19 Phobias About Health, Finances, Law, Leadership, and Loneliness

COVID-19 is not just a medical and physical health pandemic; it has also led to interrelated phobias concerning health, finances, law, leadership, and loneliness. These interconnected phobias feed off each other and can alter a person’s decision-making, risk perception, and self-identity. They also create and increase anxious feelings in sufferers. Anxious people seek and take more advice, have impaired information processing and lower self-confidence, fail to differentiate between advisors with and without conflicts of interest, and fail to discern good…

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Zoom Justice: When Constitutional Rights Collide in Cyberspace

Zoom Justice: When Constitutional Rights Collide in Cyberspace

Criminal courts throughout the United States have relied upon Zoom and other videoconferencing technologies to help maintain a functioning criminal justice system amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, such technology, in place of in-person trials, potentially violates several constitutional rights afforded to the accused, and might force them to choose to exercise one right guaranteed to them by the Sixth Amendment at the expense of another. Specifically, the accused might now confront two critical constitutional choices: (1) the right to a…

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Protecting Our Health Care Providers from Liability in a Pandemic

Protecting Our Health Care Providers from Liability in a Pandemic

While COVID-19 creates profound medical concerns for health care providers, it also creates fear of potential lawsuits. Clinicians are forced to ration scarce resources, such as ventilators, when there is an inadequate supply. Medical professionals describe chaos in hospitals that makes it extremely difficult to treat all patients appropriately. Patients have had elective surgeries postponed indefinitely. Worse yet, some, including cancer patients, have had essential operations cancelled. All of these circumstances could lead to serious patient harm and subsequent litigation….

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Closed for Business – Open for Litigation?

Closed for Business – Open for Litigation?

Can a business-closure regulation of commercial property in a pandemic be a taking?  In the midst of a pandemic, it generally falls to government to enact laws and regulations in an effort to curtail the spread of disease. For example, the Supreme Court discusses compulsory vaccination in Jacobson v. Massachusetts and quarantines in Smith v. Turner.  In a liberty-oriented constitutional federalist democratic republic like America, this can be challenging–indeed, the volume of published opinions in this area of law show…

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Protests During the Pandemic

Protests During the Pandemic

As a general rule, the government is permitted to restrict activities, including protesting, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government can regulate the time, place, and manner of speech in public forums with a content neutral restriction so long as the restriction is narrowly tailored to “serve a significant government interest” and “leave[s] open ample alternative channels for communication of the information.” A shelter-in-place order can constitutionally prevent public gatherings for a period of time (many of these orders are in…

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A Legal Stimulus

A Legal Stimulus

We need a legal stimulus. Not just a stimulus that is legal, but one that provides legal aid. That is why any further congressional stimulus should allocate additional funds specifically for legal services to individuals who, as a result of COVID-19, face eviction, foreclosure, loan defaults, debt collection, bankruptcy, domestic violence, or denied insurance claims or coverage. The need is dire. These looming crises from the pandemic will hit, but mostly after the initial health scare has dampened, the executive orders are lifted,…

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