And China Isn’t the Only One

China isn’t the only one that will be facing court cases. So will governors as Lindsay Wiley explains in an op-ed at the Washington Post:

If individuals or businesses affected by long-term interventions to combat the pandemic choose to sue, the courts would not be limited to an all-or-nothing approach. Judicial orders could require authorities to demonstrate that they are implementing public health surveillance measures to determine which areas are affected by significant community transmission and will, in due course, implement widespread testing and surveillance to tailor the timing, geographic scope and severity of public health restrictions so as to maximize benefits while minimizing harms.

It will be a full employment program for plaintiff’s attorneys. Even in an emergency elected and appointed officials are constrained by law and takings are takings.

2 comments… add one
  • Sovereign immunity would seem to apply here, no?

    Sure, individuals and businesses could sue for injunctive relief from the quarantine measures. But by the time the suits got to court—the courts are themselves all but shut down during the pandemic—they would be moot.

  • It’s the law but it isn’t the only law. The Articles of State Responsibility, to which China is a signatory, is a law, too, and it obligates China to make reparations for injuries caused by its wrongful acts. It has similar obligations under the International Health Regulations to which it is also a signatory.

    Sovereign immunity could allow China to avoid being hauled into court but it won’t protect China from the court issuing a ruling against it. All it will take is one judge in the United States.

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