The Pandemic Constitution

63 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021

See all articles by Gilad Abiri

Gilad Abiri

Peking University School of Transnational Law; Yale Law School

Sebastian Guidi

Yale University, Law School

Date Written: January 15, 2021


Pandemics threaten the health of our bodies and economies. They also threaten the health of our political and legal institutions. When COVID-19 hit, governments were utterly unprepared to meet the challenge. So were judges. Tasked with adjudicating the constitutionality of unprecedented lockdowns and emergency restrictions, and lacking recent precedents or scholarship to help them reflect, they reacted incoherently and ineffectively. To successfully meet the next, inevitable pandemic we must learn from our current hardships and devise a set of constitutional tools tailored to deal with public health emergencies. We need a pandemic constitution.

Keywords: constitutional theory, judicial review, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Abiri, Gilad and Guidi, Sebastian, The Pandemic Constitution (January 15, 2021). Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Gilad Abiri

Peking University School of Transnational Law ( email )

Peking Univ. Shenzhen Campus
University Town, Xili, Nanshan District
Shenzhen, 518055

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06510
United States

Sebastian Guidi (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School ( email )

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