Fourth Amendment

Restrictions on Interstate (and Intrastate) Travel in an Epidemic

are generally constitutional (whether they forbid travel to a particular place, or require travelers to be temporarily quarantined).

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Generally speaking, state governments can't bar people from entering a state, or for that matter traveling within the state. Such prohibitions might normally violate the Commerce Clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or a substantive due process right to travel.

But the law has long recognized that a state faced with real danger of contagious disease can restrict these rights: A state "may exclude from its limits … persons afflicted by contagious or infectious diseases," Railroad Co. v. Husen (1877), and this extends to quarantines that aim at people who might be infected (or might get infected), not just to exclusion of people who have actually been infected, see, e.g.Compagnie Francaise v. La. State Bd. of Health (1902). Those cases both reflect longstanding American practice, and remain good law today. Edwards v. California (1939), which generally bars states from excluding migrants because they are poor and likely to become public charges, did not overrule those cases: As Justice Jackson's concurrence noted,

The right of the citizen to migrate from state to state … is not … an unlimited one. In addition to being subject to all constitutional limitations imposed by the federal government, such citizen is subject to some control by state governments. He may not, if a fugitive from justice, claim freedom to migrate unmolested, nor may he endanger others by carrying contagion about. These causes, and perhaps others that do not occur to me now, warrant any public authority in stopping a man where it finds him and arresting his progress across a state line quite as much as from place to place within the state.

Of course, this right cannot be enforced in a way that violates the Constitution: The government generally can't, for instance, quarantine Catholics but not Protestants. In particular, the right is subject to the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

But of course that Amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures. When there really is an epidemic, and people from outside a state seem to pose a higher risk than people within the state, I think that (for instance) stopping all cars at the border or all cars with out-of-state plates, and perhaps ordering them to quarantine themselves for some days if they are from outside the state, is likely to be seen as a reasonable seizure.

Nor would the seizure become unreasonable because of the absence of probable cause or a warrant. Warrants aren't required to stop or even search cars; and while stopping a car for law enforcement purposes would usually require at least individualized suspicion,

Out-of-state plates might indeed produce individualized suspicion (not proof, but that's not necessary at this stage) that the driver has recently been out of state.

The Court has recognized that these requirements may be relaxed when "special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable"—and it seems to me that stopping cars to find out who needs to be quarantined, rather than who needs to be criminally prosecuted, is a classic example of such a special need.

To be sure, there is very little caselaw that deals specifically with the Fourth Amendment and communicable diseases. (Hickox v. Christie (D.N.J. 2016) seems to canvass what limited precedents there are.) But based on the general thrust of the cases—coupled with the fact that judges likely don't want to deny government officials the temporary tools they need to stave off likely tens of thousands (or more) deaths in this extraordinary time—I expect these sorts of restrictions are likely to be upheld.

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  1. I note that all of your citations precede the Warren Court.

    And you gotta admit that the Warren Court changed a lot of police practices, as well as substantially limited what had always been considered the police powers of a state.

    And these citations also precede the dramatic expansion of the Commerce Clause to usurp what had always been considered state police powers — e.g. the regulation of restaurants and motels, i.e Ollie’s Diner & Heart of Atlanta Motel.

    Hence, assuming a power to prevent persons from one state to enter another, is this a state power or a Federal power? Need a state obtain Federal permission if another state objects?

    1. It’s true, because the last really serious epidemics in the U.S. precede the Warren Court. No Warren Court precedents reversed those old precedents, or sufficiently undermined them to keep them from being applicable by lower courts. (Nor do cases such as Heart of Atlanta undermine state power to regulate commerce, even when they assert a broad federal</i power.)

      Of course, if the issue goes back before the Court, the question will be, what does the Court today think about the precedents? But I have no reason to think that the Court today would disagree with those precedents, or rely on what a hypothetical Warren Court decision that never happened would have said.

      As to your last paragraph, it’s a state power that could be trumped by Congress, if it wishes to preempt state decisionmaking in this area.

      1. Taking the latter last, the Governors don’t seem to think that. Not even RI who openly stated that she couldn’t outright block NY drivers from entering her state (from CT, incidentally).

        But my point about the Warren Court is that our attitude toward governmental power changed dramatically. Back in the 1930’s, a police officer could arrest someone because he thought the person needed to be arrested — and that would have been OK. Not now. We have a concept of individual rights that we didn’t have back then.

        Conversely, what would now be ATF officers didn’t have the authority to stop a motor vehicle back during prohibition — when they did alcohol roadblocks, they had to be accompanied by a state trooper, who had the authority to stop vehicles.

        To blindly state that the country hasn’t changed in the past century is, frankly, obtuse. One can argue what the courts might do, and you might be right on that — but law is also inherently political (remember the “switch in time that saved nine”?) and we’re already at the point where it takes a police officer to enforce the limit on the number of people allowed into a grocery store at the same time. A couple of months from now, it’s going to take more than just one officer…

        Joe Sixpack is pissed. And the country HAS changed — I’m just imagining how the Warren Court would have dealt with gay marriage…

        1. Evidently the RI governor decided that she probably was on thin ice just having NY car s stopped. Now all out of state cars are stopped.

  2. This pandemic is showing us who the actual principled libertarians are and who are libertarians when it is convenient to be.

    1. By, “principled libertarian,” do you mean when the facts change they don’t change? The same rules apply to every set of facts? Or do I misunderstand you?

      1. No by “principled libertarian” I mean one that doesn’t go against their stated principles. The main principle being the NAP. Not sure what facts have changed that render that principle “moot”.

      2. Just for the record, facts do not change.

        1. Right. Stoplights stay green forever.

    2. This was not meant to be a judgement on the author of this article. I was speaking more generally and was being lazy and put my comment on the last article I had read.

      1. There’s principled, and there’s a zealot.

        If you hew to your philosophy regardless of the consequences to yourself, well good on ya.
        If you hew to your philosophy regardless of the consequences to other people? You’re trading other people’s life and limb for your own righteousness.

        Ignoring nuance isn’t noble, it’s chidish.

        1. That’s how the Nazis came to power, and that’s how they were welcomed into Austria. When people became aware that the holocaust had started (with the killing of the mentally ill), they concluded that “it was for the best, after all…”

          And then it became too late to stop them…

          1. Dr. Ed: I’m afraid I don’t understand your argument. No-one is talking about killing the mentally ill, or killing anyone. If your suggestion is that lockdowns of people who might be dangerous can lead to locking up mentally ill people who might be dangerous, well we already can lock up mentally ill people who might be dangerous (to themselves or to others). But in any event it seems hard for me to grasp the logic of what you are saying.

            1. We are talking about killing people though. We know that there is correlation between how healthy a society is and how wealthy they are. We see correlations between suicide rates and unemployment figures. How do we know we aren’t killing more people and shortening lives of more people in the long run than by doing nothing? Where’s that conversation? What media corp is having doctors, economists, actuaries, etc all together talking about the costs and benefits? This all looks so similar to me to the warning Bastiat gave about how society tends to focus on what can be seen and ignores the unseen. We might be shortening the lives of everyone alive today by 5% or more to decrease the amount of people that die over the next two years from maybe 7.5 million to only 5.5 million, most of them people with lifespans of only months regardless of the pandemic. Is the economic long term cost worth saving a bunch of old people from dying a few months earlier than they would have anyways?

              1. Having once worked in the grocery industry, I’m seeing little things that indicate how close we are to a catastrophic breakdown in our wholesale food distribution system. For example, budded Easter Lillys are only arriving *now*, a week before Easter — they usually arrive three weeks before Easter. Christmas flavors of ice cream are showing up in stores — that’s an indication of shipping *everything* you have. And kids working there tell me that they have no idea what’s going to be on a truck when it arrives, and some aren’t arriving full. These are not good signs.

                Second, there is a direct co-relationship between the unemployment and suicide rates. At a certain point, we could lose more people this year to suicide than the Wuhan Virus. This is in addition to the shortened lifespan of everyone else.

                Third, I remind people of the conditions of the German Weimar Republic. Hitler was a nut case, like Lyndon LaRouche was here in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the difference being that the middle had ceased to hold in Germany. And while Huey Long actually was killed by one of his own trigger-happy bodyguards, had he lived to defeat FDR in 1936, it could have been interesting.

                Via governmental fiat, our economy has fallen off a worse cliff than it did in 1929. That’s not good…

                1. We’d hear about problems in our food infrastructure in ways a lot less esoteric.

                  Mental health is a constant problem, but correlation is not causation. Plus these are extraordinary times, meaning previous relationships may not hold. The idea that social distancing will at some point lead to more suicides than deaths prevented is arbitrary line drawing.

                  You really enjoy finding personal anecdotal evidence of imminent apocalypse or revolt. When things some completely from personal experience followed by personal interpretation, the risks of confirmation bias and narrativism are very high. Which means this tells us more about your worldview than anything actually predictive.

            2. If you ever have the opportunity to see Kitty Werthmann speak, GO! She was a child in Austria when Hitler moved in, and she gives a compelling first-person narrative of how a decent people slid into accepting the Holocaust. It was incremental, and while people were upset at each increment, most of them said “well, it’s for the best” and accepted it.

              My point is that had the Holocaust started with the Jews, it never would have been tolerated and hence wouldn’t have happened. But by starting the way they did — well, it’s called the Overton Window and incremental change.

              https://eagleforumofcalifornia.org/pg/0008_america_truly_is_the_greatest_country_in_the_world.htm
              In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps . The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded.

              When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.

              As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.

              1. Your argument is that any movement in one direction is the same as moving all the way in that direction; that all slopes are slippery.

                Again, I think that’s not an argument fit for the real world, where pure ideology cannot actually survive for long.

                Ideology requires paying some service to pragmatism to be practicable, just as pragmatism requires paying some service to ideology to progress.

                1. I’m merely pointing out where “it’s for the best” philosophy has led in the past….

                  1. And Hitler loved dogs. Because some of one thing are another thing doesn’t mean all of one thing are another thing.

        2. If we had 100% private property and an actual free market, not only would there be plenty of tests available, but each property owner could decide how much and for what reasons to restrict access to their property. And then as a consumer if you thought that the policy was too lax, you could avoid that business. The free market would work this out. Prices would rise on important goods and services prompting expansion and investment into those industries. maybe some places would require you to have your temp taken before entrance, etc. But this top down, command and control type of economic planning we have been doing and continue to do will be our ruin.

          1. How about taking us through your reasoning to explain to us exactly how “100% private property and actual free market” would have meant “plenty of tests available.” Please make it as simple and straightforward as you seem to think it to be. And do explain how we could count on the right quantity of tests, medications, PPE, and other vital requirements in the places they are needed, in sufficient quantities, and in timely fashion. I don’t think you could sell your thinking to any competent economist familiar with the working of markets, especially in novel, emergent circumstances like a pandemic. But hey, do your best, knowing it will probably be lost on skeptics like me.

            1. Well, independent labs and universities started making tests as far back at least as January and the CDC and FDA shut them down.

              “And do explain how we could count on the right quantity of tests, medications, PPE, and other vital requirements in the places they are needed, in sufficient quantities, and in timely fashion.”

              Prices do that. Which is why making so called “price gouging” illegal creates shortages of high demand products. The higher the price, the more investment and production goes into producing the good or service for that price. Great example is the oil market. Look how much investment went into it when oil was over $100 per barrel.

              As for economists who might support my position, I give you Walter Block, Robert Murphy, Peter Schiff and Jeff Deist.

              1. Would you describe Walter Block as a fringe player, or as someone too isolated to be accepted by fringe players?

                Peter Schiff? Didn’t his ideas die in prison? (Other than his predictions of $5,000 gold and comprehensive econonic collapse?)

                Robert Murphy? The guy who is never right? Who believes evolution is a hoax because the Bible is literally true?

                Jeff Deist? Who?

                With a team like that, no wonder you can’t compete in the American marketplace of ideas.

                1. All of these guys have been right about the last three economic collapses, the dot com bubble, the housing bubble and the current financial bubble collapse. Ignore them at your own peril.

                  1. If they have been right, and you credit their views, you must have made a killing selling your gold at $5,000.

                    1. Just because they are correct about the economy at the macro level does not mean they know when individual commodities will rise and fall.

                2. Also not sure where you got the idea that Murphy thinks evolution is a hoax. He just believes evolution was directed by some “intelligent design.” Which was pretty much what I learned growing up as a Catholic. Its fairly mainstream view within the Christian community and doesn’t go against any of the science.

                  1. Sure, it doesn’t go against the science, so long as you impute to the “Intelligent Designer,” the intention to use natural selection as his means. Otherwise, it does go against the science. Because evolution is an outcome of natural selection.

                    1. I am a reformed Catholic who is now an atheist. It was common religious teaching even back in the 1970’s that the theory of evolution was not incompatible with the Catholic faith. Why couldn’t God have used evolution as a means to an end? I see no logical contradiction there and as I said, it isn’t true that Mr Murphy denies evolution.

              2. You do see how even your rosy scenario cuts poor people out of the loop entirely, eh?
                There are limits on what you can decide to pay, even if your demand is effectively infinite.
                Add in that humans are not completely rational creatures, and have a hording instinct in times of high risk…Markets are generally a great thing, but won’t get you where you want to go in this case.

                1. Markets would have gotten us there quicker. We’d have hospitals being built which currently can’t because of Certificate of Need laws. we’d have doctors and nurses going to where the shortages are that can’t now due to state licensing requirements. We’d have liquor distilleries switching production to hand sanitizer without needing a government waiver. There would have been a lot more tests available as the ones that were being produced months ago by independent labs and universities were shut down by the CDC and FDA. People would be able to open a business out of their homes with just a shingle above the door instead of needing thousands or even millions in investment to pay for all the lawyers to satisfy all the regulatory requirements. That would be a huge boon for poor people right there. Many ways this would be going better under a free market. Hell, if we had a free market in banking then interest rates would have been higher and people would have more savings and less debt.

              3. It is the duty of the FDA to vet and certify medical diagnostics. Not every test could or should be allowed on the “market” willy-nilly. CDC’s first attempt was a faulty test and even the present tests have a significantly high false negative rate. Gathering such data is supposed to be FDA job, certainly in more normal times.

  3. One of the reasons that I read most of what EV posts here. He is willing to go against conventional wisdom when he sees that necessary. Here he is essentially suggesting that other states can probably legally prevent people from NY (and esp NYC), NJ, and CN, fleeing to their state, because of the residents of those states having a substantially higher likelihood of being infected (and thus contagious) with the Wuhan Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This is, of course, politically incorrect, since political correctness mostly originates in NYC, Currently the epicenter of the pandemic in this country, as well as the center of most news in this country.

    1. He’s very, very good at not conflating when he’s talking about what the law is, and what the law ought to be.

  4. We are snowbirds. Winter in Florida and summer in Vermont. Our housing arrangements are prepaid a year in advance. We must vacate each May and October every year. Vermont is our legal residence but the RV park in Vermont where we live doesn’t open until May.

    If we’re not allowed to return to Vermont in May, we’ll be rendered homeless. It may be legal, but it sure sounds harsh.

    It would be most harsh if we got stopped at some state border halfway en-route. We would just have to pitch a tent on I95 and let them arrest us.

    1. My parents are the same. They do 6 months in Florida and 6 in Upstate NY. They just supposed to abandon their property in NY now?

    2. My folks own a rental property that costs them two grand a month. The state has banned all seasonal rentals. I wonder if they could sue under the takings clause.

        1. I think it will be litigated anyway, and I’m not so sure it will come out that way.

          Conversely, I’m wondering if the lost income will be subrogated back to the state — as a defense against, say, income tax obligations. That’s a jury trial, and that can lead to jury nullification which the state can’t do anything about.

          This may get sorted out the way that 9-11 liability did, but otherwise, in a country where someone literally sued God (seriously), I wouldn’t dismiss this so quickly.

          Or we could wind up with a revolution…..

          1. “…in a country where someone literally sued God (seriously), I wouldn’t dismiss this so quickly.”

            Where did they file? No jurisdiction problem? How did they manage to get service on Him/Her? What relief were they seeking? Were they doing it pro se, or did they have a real lawyer representing them? How did it turn out? (Did Nazis figure in somehow?)

            1. All I can say is that it was written up in a Quinnipiac law review article about a decade ago. Memory is that he served the local Archdiocese as God’s agent, and that he was a graduate of an accredited law school, although I’m not sure about member of the bar.

              To the best of my knowledge, the National Socialists weren’t involved.

  5. I understand that rights can be modified, even suspended, in extreme circumstances. For example, it’s not unreasonable to temporarily declare martial law to stop looting after an earthquake.

    The question is – for how long? The “experts” are unable to tell us when the epidemic will be over. Therefore, most of us are under significant travel restrictions indefinitely. It’s practically house arrest without due process.

    Another question – for how long can we call this an epidemic? By definition, an epidemic is an unusual outbreak. They say that COVID-19 will never go away and will likely become a seasonal thing like regular flu. Do these court decisions give the government authority to lock us down for a couple months every winter from now on?

    1. Unlike, say, the war on terror or the war on drugs, this exigency has an end date, even if an indefinite one.

      Jargon time!
      Pandemic != endemic. Flu is endemic; virgin soil pathogens are not. The latter inevitably turns into the former, as virgin is an only once thing.

      1. Dream on….

        If this isn’t stopped now, it will be increasingly used….

      2. Your “jargon” (not really “jargon” since not special insider talk) is wrong.

        “Pandemic” is an epidemic or outbreak of a contagion that has gone “international,” affecting multiple countries, if not the wider world. “Endemic” means the disease or whatever is regularly present someplace (stays around, prevalent), not a dramatic upswing in the incidence of said disease or whatever. An “epidemic” is a dramatic upswing in the incidence (new cases) of said disease or condition (e.g., drug overdoses).

        1. Thanks, neurodoc. I have a soft spot for new terminology.

          I thought that’s what I was saying – what did I miss?

    2. My rights are inalienable. They can’t be modified or suspended, ever. They can, however be violated and not protected.

      1. How frequently do you encounter someone who agrees with you?

        1. Every time I read the Declaration of Independence.

  6. I’m not sure if the cases support that view. Compagnie Francaise dealt with the power of the state legislature to delegate to the state’s board of health the right to exclude healthy people from areas subject to contagion; the state agency distinguishes areas within the state–it doesn’t ring-fence the entire state. The former is police power, the latter is interstate commerce. It was a given in the facts of the case that there were many other ways into the state and even into the city; the board was defending the right to make a particular exclusion to a particular area.

    Hickox dealt with a brief airport quarantine of a nurse coming from an Ebola “hot zone.” Again, a very particular exclusion at a very particular port, center-line of the police power and state expertise. (The court specifically noting that the states only have even that much power because the preemption normally held by the CDC was yielded back to them).

    Husen dealt with the seasonal exclusion of cattle, who have considerably fewer 5th Amendment rights than humans. (see, e.g., “Five Guys”)

    If you block all travelers at the state border, you are regulating interstate commerce, and one relevant case not cited (Jacobsen) explicitly states that the state police powers for health regulation must yield when they come up against an enumerated federal power. It’s almost a tautology, but you can’t build walls at state borders and keep the Constitution.

    The states will be involved — as a practical matter, they have to support the CDC determination to bar travel, else they’re being co-opted under Printz. But the states can’t act unilaterally in this area.

    Mr. D.

    1. Don’t you already have to go through a checkpoint when driving into California, ostensibly to keep illicit produce from crossing the border? Is that any different in a Constitutional manner from a checkpoint for disease?

      1. Maine did this a century ago, throwing all contraband fruit into the Piscataqua River.

        They don’t anymore — and the Feds wouldn’t permit dumping into a tidal river anyway.

      2. I’d say yes, vegetable checkpoint incurs a brief liberty interest, and possibly a property interest if you have to throw your apple in the water. The “none shall pass / you shall not pass” of a pure quarantine deprives liberty (for the brief stop before turning around), 5A travel, commerce, 4A for any questioning, 1A if you’re going to meet friends somewhere, &c, &c. A “Rhode Island quarantine” diminishes the 5A interest, but imposes an even larger 4A burden, as you have to subsequently self-incarcerate.

        Mr. D.

  7. My best friend, blood brother, consigliere, and personal attorney, is currently trapped in KY. He just finished a big $$$ trial there when they said those presently in KY could leave the state, but not return to it without quarantining. While he would desperately like to get back to the office and home 10 hours away by car, he can’t do it because he has another matter requiring his presence in a KY court next week. It may not be the cruelest set of circumstances ever, but he ain’t a happy camper. He is lucky to have a decent hotel room, but there is little else to solace him, except his current physical, if not mental health

    1. I don’t see how KY can do this without granting a continuance to anyone so affected by KY’s own actions.

      At least ethically….

  8. Big $$$ would give me solace!

  9. You are remiss in not distinguishing the precedents regarding “quarantine” and “isolation” from the restrictions being proposed or threatened today on the freedom of movement and assembly.

    “Isolation” has been legally understood as the restriction on movement of a person known to have a contageous disease. “Quarantine” has legally been defined as restricting the movement of a person know or reasonably suspected of having had recent contact with someone who is known to have a contagious disease. (Preventing aliens from entering the country is a separate category not considered here). To “quarantine” or “isolate” a person on these grounds has generally subject to an *individual* showing of reasonable suspicion much akin to, for example, the probable cause standards for reasonable searches and seizures.

    The precedents you cite are a far cry from restricting the movements of entire populations of people which go by (somewhat euphemistically) the term “social distancing”. This would include, for example, making it a crime for a neighbor to have dinner at the home of another neighbor (both, presumably, consenting adults) even if those consenting adults practice safe “social distancing” much like “safe sex”. Permitting this type of edict, based solely on a declaration of emergency (determined by the government itself), present a very, very slippery slope which you seem to be downplaying. And, under a lot of these same “social distancing” rules being enacted and enforced today around the world, the doors to one’s lawyer and indeed the courtroom have effectively been locked.

    I fear these “cures” will lead to a permanent diminishment of our civil liberties and open the door to abuse and I get no reassurance here that anyone is going to prevent that from happening.

    1. With far more Americans dying of Opiate overdoses, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be applied to drug interdiction efforts.

      1. Because background things are treated differently by human beings compared to new sources of death.

        It’s captured in the risk analysis concept of ‘dread.’ Different sources of death give rise to different magnitudes of response.

        Car accidents: quick, constant background, acceptance of risk, and visible. All those factors lower dread, and thus moderate our society’s response.

        Versus COVID: longer, invisible, new, minimal acceptance of risk.

        Versus nuclear terrorism: quick, new, visible/invisible (radiation), no acceptance of risk, with a national component. Terrorism was what we spend the most per death to prevent when last I checked.

        We are not utilitarian machines. I’m not sure we should be.

  10. The problem with the approaches taken by Florida and Rhode Island is that they treated an entire state the same. If the goal is to limit the spread of Covid19, there is no reason to limit travel from Genesee County, New York, because the New York City metropolitan area has a higher rate of Covid19. The restriction is not narrowing tailored to meet its objective of spreading Covid19.

    I would have no problem with a state preventing people from areas with a high rate of Covid19 from traveling to that state, provided that the restrictions are without regard to state boundaries. Part of why we have a Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clauses is to prevent states from entering into agreements or alliances that would undermine the union. When states treat all people from another state differently, it will encourage implicit alliances between them without entering into formal agreements.

    1. The RI governor has now asked the state police to stop all cars with out of state plates at the border.

  11. Suppose, and this would I hope be hypothetical, that a pandemic impairs the military – would Congress be empowered to take broad measures in the civilian sector to prevent the disease’s spread, under some Necessary and Proper clause power?

  12. How about taking us through your reasoning to explain to us exactly how “100% private property and actual free market” would have meant “plenty of tests available.” Please make it as simple and straightforward as you seem to think it to be. And do explain how we could count on the right quantity of tests, medications, PPE, and other vital requirements in the places they are needed, in sufficient quantities, and in timely fashion. I don’t think you could sell your thinking to any competent economist familiar with the working of markets, especially in novel, emergent circumstances like a pandemic. But hey, do your best, knowing it will probably be lost on skeptics like me.

  13. After following the actions of state governors over the past four weeks, I now understand why James Madison distrusted the states to protect the rights of their citizens.
    In my own state, rather than invoking the long standing and well understood laws dealing with quarantines, the Governor instead invoked the broad “emergency powers” which were enacted to deal with natural disasters, terrorism, invasions, etc.
    The latest “executive proclamation”, which purports to order everything from curfews to suspending portions of the D.U.I. laws which requires a driver with a blood alcohol level in excess of .08% to be jailed until his/her BAC drops below .08.
    In fact, the “proclamation” of March 26, 2020 provides: “FURTHER, to the extent a provision in this supplemental proclamation conflicts with any provision of state law, that law is hereby suspended for the duration of this state of emergency, and this proclamation shall control.” I assume that the intent is to also meant to suspend the Alabama Constitution of 1901 which provides: “That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised except by the legislature.” Article I, Section 21, Alabama Constitution of 1901. The legislature has not met in over six weeks.
    The problem is that the typical “nanny state” politicians are once again telling everyone that they are wiser than you are and better able to make decisions about your health than you are. Frankly, I am amazed that so many freedom loving people have been cowered into complying health edicts that have will have dubious effects on this epidemic but will positively cause an economic collapse which may exceed the Great Depression.

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