Public Health and Private Rights: Communicable Diseases, Panic Attacks, and the Constitution

Policy Forum
May 27, 2003 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT

1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law School; George J. Annas, Boston University, School of Public Health; and Lawrence O. Gostin, Georgetown University Law Center and Johns Hopkins University.

The global spread of SARS, the possible return of smallpox as a bioterror weapon, and the post-9/11 anthrax attacks have renewed debate over the limits of state police power in protecting public health. Do we need to rethink and revise traditional public health law and government responsibilities in an age of terrorism, globalization, and rapid communication? Will constitutional safeguards set effective limits on sweeping state action in the name of public health, protect individual liberties, and preserve our open society? Our panel will explore whether we need to apply new powers or old principles in response to the latest risks to our health and well-being.