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Tag: covid-19

Federalism and Communicative Confusion in the Time of COVID-19

Federalism and Communicative Confusion in the Time of COVID-19

The states, rather than the federal government, have taken the lead in responding to COVID-19. This is in part because states have broad police powers that allow them to enact measures like stay-at-home orders. It is also because the federal government has avoided issuing guidance, even suppressing a recent CDC report, which has left the states without central coordination. Some praise this strategy as a prudent invocation of federalism. But any evaluation of the federalism benefits must account for the…

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Constitutional Constraints on Lawyer Licensing in the Age of COVID-19

Constitutional Constraints on Lawyer Licensing in the Age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the courts and the legal profession, just when access to justice is most needed. The public health crisis has generated a host of legal issues in areas as diverse as disaster relief, health law, disability issues, insurance, employment law, criminal justice, domestic violence, and civil rights. The need for lawyers to address these issues is great, but courts are struggling to license new lawyers due to the serious health consequences of administering the bar…

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CUSTODY AND VISITATION IN A PANDEMIC

CUSTODY AND VISITATION IN A PANDEMIC

Either voluntarily or through court order, most separated and divorced parents have established parenting plans that outline custody and visitation obligations. But what happens to these orders when a global pandemic rages through our communities?  Can parents unilaterally  refuse to engage in custodial transfers or keep the other parent from visiting while a government shelter-in-place order is in place? Anecdotally, family law attorneys report that the single biggest issue for their clients right now seems to be whether the regular…

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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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Data Control and Surveillance in the COVID-19 Response

Data Control and Surveillance in the COVID-19 Response

In a paper published last month, we argue that the emerging emphasis on digital technologies in the global tuberculosis (TB) response is ushering in a new era of data colonization and surveillance in the name of public health. We assert that, despite some promise, digital adherence technologies for TB create copious amounts of data that threaten to infringe human rights, ultimately hindering the disease response. The elephant in the room (or in the paper), of course, is the coronavirus outbreak…

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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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Cruel Exposure in Unusual Times

Cruel Exposure in Unusual Times

In ordinary times, the conditions on Rikers Island have been unconscionably bad. Now, with the rapid spread of coronavirus, they have become unconstitutionally deadly. Of the more than 1,300 cases that have developed in prisons, 370 come from Rikers alone. And the first inside to die of the disease, Michael Tyson, passed away on April 5th. Rikers Chief Physician, Dr. Ross MacDonald, broke from his practice of silent, anonymous service to bring attention to the fact that the virus spreads…

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Life Hangs in the Balance: Weighing Coronavirus Church Closings Against the RFRA

Life Hangs in the Balance: Weighing Coronavirus Church Closings Against the RFRA

On March 27, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group unanimously issued an order restricting the gatherings of non-essential businesses and services. The Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne responded that he would only cancel church services for the Rapture and that pastors who canceled services were “pansies.” After holding church services on March 29, county authorities arrested Howard-Browne for unlawful assembly and violating the public health emergency order. While the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 applies only to the federal government,…

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