In the guise of a proposal for ‘medical quarantine’, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have proposed regulations that would give CDC employees sweeping martial-law powers of warrantless search, interrogation, tracking of movements, arrest, and extrajudicial mass detention (at the detainees’ own expense!) of individuals or entire groups of unlimited numbers of people for unlimited periods of time.
The proposal revives a dormant decade-old rulemaking initiated after the 2001 and 2005 anthrax scares in Washington, DC. But rather than finalizing the rules proposed (and widely criticized) in 2005, or responding to the comments submitted back then in response to the original proposal, the CDC has published a new and different but perhaps even more objectionable replacement proposal. It’s unclear why this is happening now, but it seems likely that the CDC feels a political necessity to be seen as ‘doing something’ to prepare for the possibility of another outbreak of Ebola virus disease.
This post was published at Papers Please on October 14th, 2016.