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Are “Stay at Home” Orders Constitutional?

All across the United States, millions of people have been ordered to “stay at home” or “shelter in place” to slow the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve been told not to go to work, not to go to school, not to go out of their homes — unless absolutely necessary. And this situation is expected to last for many weeks to come. 

What legal precedents, if any, are there for such measures? Do they represent the suspension of the Constitution? How do the lockdowns relate to the principle of the rule of law and the protection of individual rights? Should we expect to see any of the lockdown orders challenged in court? These are some of the questions I put to two legal experts, Larry Salzman and Steve Simpson, in a special episode of ARI’s web series Philosophy for Living on Earth.

Make sure to catch Salzman and Simpson’s answers to the question: What are “trip wires” for concern about the widening scope of government power and, worse, authoritarian measures?

Watch the whole interview, followed by audience Q&A, here:

And catch up on previous episodes on our Youtube channel or the podcast (Apple, Stitcher, Spotify).

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Elan Journo

Elan Journo is a senior fellow and vice president of content at the Ayn Rand Institute. His books include Illuminating Ayn Rand (2022), Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: What Went Wrong After 9/11 (2021) and What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2018). Elan is a senior editor of New Ideal.

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