Coronavirus vs. Constitution: What can gov’t stop you from doing in a pandemic?

Coronavirus vs. Constitution: What can gov’t stop you from doing in a pandemic?

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Public closures, a ban on gatherings, quarantine notices and orders for isolation have become increasingly common as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States.

Officials in Washington state and San Francisco are limiting the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings. The governor of California joined them on Thursday in urging the cancellation of all events with more than 250 people in attendance.

The governor of Kentucky, a Bible belt state, has asked churches and other religious institutions to temporarily cancel services.

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But if it seems these actions are infringing on individual freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, think again.

“You don’t have a right to assemble against the backdrop of known public health risk,” James G. Hodge told McClatchy News.

Hodge is the director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University. …

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