Coronavirus and the Constitution

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many constitutional questions that we’ve never really thought about. Can President Trump order a nationwide shutdown? Can he quarantine the tristate area? Can he force GM to make ventilators or force 3M to make (and not export) masks? What about those state quarantines in Florida and Texas for travelers arriving from New York, or those Rhode Island troopers pulling over cars with New York license plates? For that matter, where do the governors and mayors who are issuing shelter‐​in‐​place orders get the power to do so? Can they really close churches and other peaceful public assemblies? What about gun stores? For that matter, can anyone challenge a determination that their business isn’t “essential” and thus exempt from many of these orders? Don’t all these restrictions violate our most basic constitutional rights to travel, to earn a living, and generally to make choices about how best to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and free? Please join us for an online forum to discuss these and other constitutional issues attending the coronavirus emergency.