Public Health Law and Ethics (Fall 2004)

  • Author: Lawence O. Gostin, Georgetown University Law Center


Ensuring the health and well-being of citizens is among the fundamental goals of American government. While state and local governments have broad powers to provide for the public’s health, government action to protect health and well-being may conflict with constitutionally-protected rights of individuals. Thus, the question that lawyers, legislators, jud ges, and public health authorities must consider when contemplating government action is the extent to which the state may restrain citizens for the promotion of health, safety, and morals. This course will explore the legal foundations of the American public health system and the resulting struggle between individual liberties and the government’s interest in providing for its citizen’s collective health and well-being.

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