Penn Law

The legal history of epidemics in America

Sarah Barringer Gordon, the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, offers a commentary on American political responses to epidemics past.



In the News


The Washington Post

Trump’s sarcastic response to Mitt Romney’s negative test for coronavirus follows years of bad blood

Claire Finkelstein of the Law School commented on President Trump’s negative reaction to Mitt Romney’s self-quarantine. “[Trump] would have had a moment there to unify the country around this crisis and to show his moral leadership in doing so,” she said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Chinese propaganda claims democracy can’t stop coronavirus. We can—but can Trump?

Jacques deLisle of the Law School and School of Arts and Sciences said propaganda coming from China regarding the coronavirus is “designed to take some of the heat off Xi Jinping at home, so he can say look at us as compared to the feckless Americans.”

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The New York Times

A conservative agenda unleashed on the federal courts

Stephen Burbank of the Law School spoke about trend by recent presidents to draw the federal judiciary into policy debates. “The problem as I see it is not that judges differ ideologically—of course they do—nor is it that a Republican president would look for someone with congenial ideological preferences,” he said. “It’s that in recent decades the search has been for hard-wired ideologues because they’re reliable policy agents.”

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Voice of America

Legal experts say immigration directives issued under Cuccinelli are vulnerable

Sarah Paoletti of the Law School spoke about the ramifications of a federal court’s ruling that Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment as acting director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wasn’t legal. “I think it does call into question all of his policies. I think the challenge is [to find out] which policies are under his name, and which policies are more broadly issued—or maybe prompted by him, proposed by him—but ultimately issued by the Department of Homeland Security,” she said.

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The Washington Post

A judge resigns after using the n-word in texts that she says the public was never meant to see

Anita Allen of the Law School and School of Arts and Sciences commented on a Louisiana judge who resigned after using a racial slur in multiple text messages. “I’m African American and a lawyer, and I have never once in my entire life used the n-word in any conversation,” she said. “I know for a fact it’s avoidable. It’s not necessary.”

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