New York wants to give its governor absolute discretionary power to lock people up. Expect other states to pick up on the idea quickly.
New York is considering passage of Assembly Bill A416, “REMOVAL AND DETENTION OF CASES, CONTACTS AND CARRIERS WHO ARE OR MAY BE A DANGER TO PUBLIC HEALTH [emphasis added]”
THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE COMMISSIONER OR THE HEADS OF LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, MAY ORDER THE REMOVAL AND/OR DETENTION OF SUCH A PERSON OR OF A GROUP OF SUCH PERSONS BY ISSUING A SINGLE ORDER, IDENTIFYING SUCH PERSONS EITHER BY NAME OR BY A REASONABLY SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE INDIVIDUALS OR GROUP BEING DETAINED. SUCH PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS SHALL BE DETAINED IN A MEDICAL FACILITY OR OTHER APPROPRIATE FACILITY OR PREMISES DESIGNATED BY THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE AND COMPLYING WITH SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION.
Oh, so there are protections–let’s reference Subdivision Five:
BE DETAINED IN A MANNER THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH RECOGNIZED [by whom?] ISOLATION AND INFECTION CONTROL PRINCIPLES IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE THE LIKELIHOOD OF TRANSMISSION OF INFECTION TO SUCH PERSON AND TO OTHERS.
Further, there is no provision for Due Process of Law—only “the Department” determines when or if the “person or group” can be released:
3. A PERSON OR GROUP REMOVED OR DETAINED BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE DETAINED FOR SUCH PERIOD AND IN SUCH MANNER AS THE DEPARTMENT MAY DIRECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION.
What could go wrong?
For some real-world, historical instances of how government has previously used infectious disease to expand its power, resulting in, for example, apartheid; segregation; zoning as “sanitary” measures to separate “dirty” races from whites; as well as compulsory vaccination laws that were later used to advance eugenics through compulsory sterilization, see “Infectious Diseases and Government Growth.”
This article was published by The Beacon