Thursday, April 2, 2020
Call for Papers
Pandemics and the Constitution
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, governments have rapidly imposed restrictions on everyday life that would have seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago. While as late as mid-March media was repeating the line that draconian measures to contain the virus like those taken in Wuhan, China, could not occur in the United States, Americans have very quickly adjusted to tight restrictions on daily life. Commentary about the constitutionality of coronavirus-related restrictions by legal scholars has just begun to appear in the popular media. Existing jurisprudence has been characterized as recognizing a “seemingly unlimited power to quarantine” on the parts of states. Much of this legal precedent, however, is over a century old, predating many shifts in thinking in legal thinking and constitutional law on civil liberties, procedural due process, and the role of the federal government.
Because scholarship on this subject will be a vital guide to the public and legal community in the months ahead, ConLawNOW is seeking to publish, on an expedited timeline, a written symposium of short essays (preferably 5–10,000 words, about 10 published pages) on the constitutional boundaries of government response to pandemics. Topics may include, but are not limited to, constitutional permissibility of restrictions on movement and travel, legitimacy of closing and limits on commerce, the proper scope of state power to act for the public health, constitutionality of the suspension of fundamental rights like abortion or gun rights, constitutional implications of delays in courts, trials, and juries, First Amendment parameters of restrictions on gatherings and religious services, permissibility of mandated medical testing, surveillance, and tracking, government ability to delay or cancel elections, and Eighth Amendment implications for inmates.
Submissions will be considered and published on a rolling basis. Papers submitted prior to April 19 will receive priority consideration. To submit, please email your manuscript to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions may be directed to email@example.com or editor David Belfiglio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ConLawNOW is an online journal sponsored by the Congressionally-established Center for Constitutional Law and the Akron Law Review. It is an open access journal, also indexed in Westlaw, Lexis, and Hein.