The Federal Government’s Legal Authorities in a Public Health Crisis: A Q&A with Benjamin Wittes and Steve Vladeck

By David Priess
Friday, March 20, 2020, 5:31 PM

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the federal government has begun resorting to a series of emergency powers—including the Stafford Act, the Defense Production Act and the Public Health Service Act—in response. How far could these authorities be stretched? Which authorities have actually been used during the current crisis? How do state authorities interact with those on the federal level?

Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes talked with Steve Vladeck, professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, for a 90 minute live Zoom webinar on Monday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The pair, and special guests David Kris and Margaret Taylor, tackled a range of audience questions about the federal government's available authorities to respond to the outbreak.

As our first Zoom event with live Q&A, this session had some very minor speed bumps along the way. But, in this new era of social distancing, getting content like this to you in a novel way is worth the experiment.

Video from the event is available here: