All FSI News Commentary February 26, 2022

U.S. Public Health Law — Foundations and Emerging Shifts

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the complex and sometimes conflicting relationship between individual rights and public health protection.
Health Law Illustration
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The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the complex and sometimes conflicting relationship between individual rights and public health protection. This tension has long occupied U.S. courts, as witnessed by the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision upholding a smallpox vaccination mandate in Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Today, although many through lines of public health law endure, some long-settled understandings are being contested and disrupted.

In this perspective published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Stanford Health Policy's Michelle Mello, a professor of health policy and professor of law, and Wendy Parmet of Northeastern University's Center for Health Policy and Law, review the Constitution and state and federal statutes to protect civil liberties relevant to the application of public health laws — including one of our most zealously protected rights: freedom of speech.

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Supreme Court
Q&As

A Look at the Supreme Court Ruling on Vaccination Mandates

Two Stanford law, labor and health experts explain the legal and health implications of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large companies, while upholding another federal regulation calling on health-care workers in federally funded facilities to be vaccinated.
Illustration of a masks and law
Commentary

The Political and Judicial Battles Over Mask Mandates for Schools

Litigation over mask mandates takes a bizarre turn after political leaders in eight states introduce bans on mask requirements. Some state bans apply only to mandates adopted by school districts; others are broader. In this JAMA Health Forum viewpoint, health law experts Michelle Mello and David Studdert look at the various lawsuits, court rulings — and possible solutions.
President Biden announces COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Q&As

Michelle Mello: Biden's New Vaccine Mandates

President Biden announced sweeping new mandates meant to push an estimated two-thirds of American workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and stem the tide of the latest Delta wave of the pandemic. Health law expert Michelle Mello weighs in.