NUSL Public Health Law

PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC HEALTH LAW: SPRING 2021

The updated syllabus will always be available online at:
 http://bit.ly/PublicHealthLaw


Monday and Wednesday
1:50 – 3:20 PM
Fully online via Zoom (link in Canvas and below)

Michael S. Sinha, MD, JD, MPH
Adjunct Faculty, Northeastern University School of Law
Visiting Scholar, NUSL Center for Health Policy and Law
E-mail: m.sinha@northeastern.edu
Office Hours: By appointment
 

Course Description

This course surveys public health law in the United States and considers the role that law can and should play in preserving population health.  We will also consider the conflicts and problems that emerge when law is used for that endeavor, as well as the legal rights and principles that limit government’s public health powers.
 

Required Text

  • Public Health Law, 3rd Edition. Mariner, Annas, Huberfeld, Ulrich (Carolina Academic Press, 2019).

Student Responsibilities

  1. Readings: Readings should be completed before class. Copies of the Mariner casebook are available for purchase in the NUSL Bookstore and should also be on reserve at the law library. Other readings will be posted on this page.
  2. Attendance and Engagement: This component of the evaluation is based on: class attendance and punctuality, participation and demonstrated engagement with the subject matter as evidenced by participation during class, during office hours, on the Canvas discussion board, and at least twice weekly engagement on Twitter (using the hashtag #PHLaw [optional but encouraged]). (25% of grade)
  3. Midterm Assignment: A structured “public comment” brief (5-7 pages) will be due before the start of class on Monday, March 22, 2021. Written instructions are here. (25% of grade)
  4. Final Paper: The final paper on a pre-approved topic should be 16-18 pages in length and contain appropriately formatted BlueBook references. More information here. A proposal outlining the topic significance, key questions, expected outcomes and preliminary sources will be due before class on Monday, March 8, 2021. I may ask you to update/revise your proposal, and a sample proposal can be found here. The final paper will be due on Friday, May 7, 2021. (50% of grade)
  5. Academic Integrity: Northeastern University is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. All members of the Northeastern community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work in tests and assignments. If you have any questions regarding proper attribution of the work of others, contact me prior to submitting work for evaluation.

 

Learning Objectives:

As required by the American Bar Association, the Faculty of the School of Law have identified a set of learning outcomes and competencies that students are expected to develop over the course of their three years in the JD program. The complete list can be found at http://www.northeastern.edu/law/about/history.html. Students in this course should achieve, and will be assessed in, the following learning outcomes and competencies, among others:

Learning Outcome I: Know and Understand the Law: What Lawyers Comprehend

-- Describe substantive law relevant to public health.

Learning Outcome III: Apply the Means and Modes of Effective Communication: How Lawyers Communicate

-- Communicate orally, including (a) participating in class discussion; … (c) presenting academic or policy-based research and (d) explaining legal concepts and practical applications to clients and others.

-- Use non-textual forms of communication (e.g. slides).

Learning Outcome IV: Understand Law in its Social Context: How Lawyers Situate Their Work

-- Describe or otherwise demonstrate understanding of the ways in which the law can work as an instrument of social change as well as the ways in which law can impede social change

-- Describe or otherwise demonstrate understanding of the ways that law both reflects and influences culture

-- Develop strategies to promote particular policy perspectives and concerns into law, both through legislation and litigation.

Learning Outcome VIII: Incorporate Interdisciplinary and International Thinking into Legal Analysis: How Lawyers Utilize Other Disciplines and Global Perspectives

-- Integrate knowledge from other academic discipline

-- Explain a particular non-legal/substantive policy issue.

 

Learning During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. This is an extremely stressful time to be a law student and is certainly not what you envisioned when you enrolled at Northeastern. That said, I’m fully committed to making sure that you learn everything you were hoping to learn from this class! I will make whatever accommodations I can to help you finish your assignments and understand the class material. Under ordinary conditions, I am flexible and lenient with grading and course expectations when students face difficult challenges. Under pandemic conditions, that flexibility and leniency is intensified. If you tell me you’re having trouble, I will not judge you or think less of you. I hope you’ll extend me the same grace. You never owe me personal information about your health (mental or physical). That said, you are always welcome to talk to me about things that you’re going through. If I can’t help you, I will find somebody who can. I want you to learn lots of things from this class, but I primarily want you to stay healthy, balanced, and grounded during this crisis.

 

Zoom Etiquette:

With new technology come new guidelines. The following apply to class sessions on Zoom:

  • The permanent Zoom link for class is https://northeastern.zoom.us/my/publichealthlaw
  • If you are having technical issues, please use the Zoom application on your smartphone or dial in to class.
    • Dial-in information (1-312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 340 372 2397)
      (if you call in, you will need to unmute and identify yourself to be marked as present)
  • Please make sure your name appears in Zoom as you’d like to be called.
  • Attendance is required for all sessions. Unless it is an emergency, a request for an excused absence must come 48 hours before class starts.
  • Class sessions will not be recorded. Slides will be posted after class.
  • All participants will be muted during class. You may unmute yourself in order to speak or ask questions. Please use the raise hand feature when asking questions.
  • You will NOT be required to have your video on for the entirety of the class. However, I will assume you are paying attention even if your video is off and may ask a question.
  • The chat function will not be used during class. I am happy to stay on after class ends to address questions related to the course.

 

CLASS SCHEDULE

The following schedule is preliminary and subject to changes that may be announced in class and/or on the syllabus page.  Each topic roughly correlates to one class period. If we do not cover all the reading for one topic in one class, be prepared to discuss the remainder of that topic in the next class, in addition to the readings for the next topic.

February 17:

1. FOUNDATIONS OF PUBLIC HEALTH LAW

February 22:

2. THE SCOPE OF THE POLICE POWER

February 24:

3. REGULATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, PART 1

March 1:

4. REGULATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, PART 2

March 3:

5. CIVIL LIBERTIES AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

March 8:

6. HEALTH DISPARITIES, SOCIAL/STRUCTURAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH

March 10:

7. CIVIL COMMITMENT, ISOLATION, AND QUARANTINE

  • Mariner pgs. 81-107, 158-164
  • Power, Duty, Restraint pgs. 416-433
  • Additional Readings TBD

Final Paper Outline Due (by email before class)

March 15:

8. SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

  • Mariner pgs. 259-276
  • Additional readings TBD

Draft of Public Comment Due (by email before class)

March 17:

9. TOBACCO, ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES, AND VAPING

  • Mariner pgs. 277-296
  • Additional readings TBD

March 22:

10. WEIGHT AND HEALTH

  • Mariner pgs. 297-330
  • Additional readings TBD

Public Comment Due

March 24:

11. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, INTIMATE RELATIONS

  • Mariner pgs. 331-404
  • Additional readings TBD

March 29:

12. FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES

  • Mariner pgs. 405-482
  • Additional readings TBD

March 31:

13. PUBLIC HEALTH AND RELIGION

  • Mariner pgs. 483-548
  • Additional readings TBD

April 5:

14. FIREARMS AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT

  • Mariner pgs. 549-620
  • Additional readings TBD

April 7:

15. TESTING, SCREENING, AND SEARCHING FOR HEALTH RISKS

  • Mariner, pgs. 45-51, 621-682
  • Additional readings TBD

April 12:

16. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

  • Mariner pgs. 685-720, 741-755
  • Additional readings TBD

April 14:

17. EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS

  • Mariner pgs. 761-779
  • Power, Duty, Restraint pgs. 391-415

April 19:

 

NO CLASS – PATRIOT’S DAY

April 21:

18. HIV/AIDS AND OTHER STIs

  • Additional readings TBD

April 23:

(FRIDAY)

19. INFLUENZA, VACCINE-PREVENTALBE ILLNESS

  • Mariner pgs. 780-809
  • Additional readings TBD

April 26:

20. EBOLA IN WEST AFRICA AND THE US

  • Mariner pgs. 810-828
  • Additional readings TBD

April 28:

21. COVID-19 AND THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH LAW

  • Additional readings TBD

May 7:

FINAL PAPER DUE by e-mail to m.sinha@northeastern.edu