National Legal Paradigms for Public Health Emergency Responses

31 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by James G. Hodge

James G. Hodge

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

Date Written: April 15, 2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant weaknesses of the U.S. federalist system in controlling major infectious disease threats. At the root of American failures to adequately respond is a battle over public health primacy in emergency preparedness and response. Which level of government—federal or state—should actually “call the shots” to quell national emergencies? Constitutional principles of cooperative federalism suggest both levels of government are responsible. Yet, real-time applications of these principles, coupled with dubious national leadership, contributed to horrific public health outcomes across America. No one seeks a “repeat performance” of U.S. COVID-19 response efforts to forthcoming major health threats. Avoiding it entails substantial changes. Expansive interpretations and executions of core federal emergency powers illuminate new paradigms for Twenty-first century public health crisis planning, preparedness, and response where states remain key players, but the feds are primary play-callers.

Keywords: federalism, COVID-19, public health, constitution, emergency, preemption, commerce, spending, preparedness, response, limits, balance, powers, states, federal, local, national, pandemic, infectious disease, declaration

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G., National Legal Paradigms for Public Health Emergency Responses (April 15, 2021). American University Law Review, Vol. 71, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3827288 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3827288

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

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