Teaching Public Health Law

Teaching Public Health Law
Edward P. Richards
Director, Program in Law, Science, and Public Health
Harvey A. Peltier Professor of Law
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1000
What is Public Health Law?
The Lumpers and the Splitters
Traditional Public Health
Public Health Law as Practiced in
Communicable Disease Control
Clean Water
Public Health as a Theory of
The American Public Health
Association Defines Public Health as
Everything that Affects Personal and
Community Wellbeing
Wraps Everything into Public Health
Personal Health Services
Civil Liberties
Sustainable Development
Why Does It Matter?
Traditional Public Health is
Police Power
Well Understood State Powers
Flexible Response to Emergencies
Administrative Law Rules
Consistent Jurisprudence Back to the
Colonial Period
Public Health as Everything
Tries to Have a Consistent Model for
Different Jurisprudential Classes
SARS and TB are Different from Smoking
Personal Health Services are Very
Different from Communicable Disease
Community Empowerment is not Police
Why is This Bad?
At Least Until 9/11, Individual Liberties
Claims Were Used to Undermine
Traditional Public Health Authority
Constant Argument from Academics
that Old Public Health Laws were
Unconstitutional Because They Did
Not Fit Every Situation in the New
Public Health
Perverse Effects
Used to Argue Against Effective HIV Control
Measures, Thus Devastating Urban Poor and
Minority Communities
Used to Convince Legislatures to Weaken
Traditional Disease Control Laws
Many of the Problems Allegedly Addressed by
the Model State Emergency Health Powers
Act were Caused by Same Folks Who Wrote
the Model Act!
What is Wrong with the
It is much too detailed
It ignores the entire matrix of related state
Crisis management must be an extension
of day-to-day practices, not a special set
of laws that sit on the shelf
Public Health Law is
Administrative Law
The Model Act, and Most
Public Health Law Teaching
Ignores this Basic Premise
State Administrative Law
Public Health Law is State
Administrative Law
State Adlaw is Different from Federal
It is Seldom Taught, but is Critical to
Understanding Public Health
Public Health is the Perfect Way to
Teach State Administrative Law