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Law in Public Health Practice$
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Richard A. Goodman, Richard E. Hoffman, Wilfredo Lopez, Gene W. Matthews, Mark Rothstein, and Karen Foster

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301489.001.0001

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Public Health and the Judiciary

Public Health and the Judiciary

Chapter:
(p.89) Chapter 4 PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE JUDICIARY
Source:
Law in Public Health Practice
Author(s):

Daniel D. Stier

Diane M. Nicks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301489.003.0004

This chapter explores the relations between public health and the judiciary, defined broadly as the U.S. court system, essential functions of the court system, essential people within the court system (e.g., judges and juries), and procedural rules and customs under which the courts resolve disputes and operate. It introduces the structure and function of federal and state courts, and describes how federalism requires state and federal courts to share power. It then discusses several public health law-related cases decided by courts. While showing that courts generally grant broad deference to officials endeavoring to protect the public's health, the cases also illustrate judicial insistence on the existence of underlying legal authority; the attention paid by courts to the facts on which public health actions are based; the judicial balancing of protection of public health and individual rights; the impact of federalism on judicial decisions; and the potential for judicial interpretation to change over time. Finally, the chapter addresses the emerging issue of the courts' roles in and preparedness needs for public health emergencies.

Keywords:   public health system, judicial system, U.S. court system, law, legal authority

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