Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ebola Quarantine Lawsuit

Doug Mataconis discusses: "Nurse Kaci Hickcox Sues Chris Christie For Civil Liberties Violations During Ebola Quarantine". 

This is some legal fallout from last year's big Ebola scare, in which many people were calling for restrictions on people coming to the US from affected areas in Africa.

From Mataconis' blog post:
[Kaci Hickcox] was detained at Newark Airport after arriving home from West Africa and not allowed to continue on to her connecting flight. Instead, she was taken into custody and detained in a tent outside a hospital in Newark, New Jersey before being allowed to return home to Maine.

Once in Maine, that state’s Republican Governor Paul LePage, who just happened to be running for re-election, attempted to impose severe restrictions on Hickox’s liberty notwithstanding the fact that she displayed absolutely no symptoms of having the Ebola virus and that asymptomatic patients are not contagious.

Governor LePage’s efforts were derailed by a Maine State Court Judge, who limited the requirements placed on Hickox to keeping local health authorities informed of her condition and location during the incubation period for the disease.

Now, Hickcox has filed a lawsuit alleging that Christie and other government authorities violated her civil liberties...
I fully agree with the principle that the government has the legitimate authority to quarantine people who carry a deadly infectious disease -- or who pose an objective threat of such -- based on best reasonable medical knowledge.

The key issue in this case is whether someone who displayed no symptoms and was supposedly not at risk of transmitting the disease to others posed such an "objective threat".