Legal Crises in Public Health

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 2019 (Forthcoming)

9 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2019 Last revised: 30 Nov 2019

See all articles by James G. Hodge

James G. Hodge

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Sarah Wetter

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Erica N. White

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Center for Public Health Law and Policy

Date Written: September 12, 2019

Abstract

Since the onset of modern legal conceptions of “public health emergencies” (PHEs) in 2001, government officials at all levels have demonstrated a propensity to declare PHEs in response to a multitude of scenarios (e.g., emerging infectious diseases, natural disasters, terrorism events). Many of these declarations are justified by the circumstances, others perhaps less so.

Yet, in addition to the rise of formal PHE declarations, officials, academics, media, and others are increasingly labeling multiple types of threats to human health. Pursuant to a “crisis du jour” mentality, Americans are deluged with an unending series of identified public health threats including diseases, conditions, acts, and behaviors.

Against this barrage of exigencies one might perceive that primary health hazards stem largely from rapidly escalating conditions or events. Perceptions, however, do not match reality. Significantly greater risks to health arise from long-standing, entrenched causes. Like climbing ivies, these threats creep along year after year posing substantial societal harms while eluding meaningful law and policy responses centered on assuring the public’s health.

Keywords: emergencies, crises, epidemics, classifications, declarations, public health

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G. and Wetter, Sarah and White, Erica N., Legal Crises in Public Health (September 12, 2019). Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 2019 (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3452908

James G. Hodge (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
111 E. Taylor Street, MC 9520
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States
480-727-8576 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.asu.edu/degree-programs/public-health-law-policy

Sarah Wetter

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Erica N. White

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ
United States

Center for Public Health Law and Policy ( email )

United States

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