Expert: Examining Quarantine Laws When It Comes to the Ebola Virus

Law professor available to speak regarding laws surrounding quarantine and the Ebola virus.


Jennifer Bard, a professor of law and the Director of the Health Law Program at Texas Tech University, has written about the quarantine laws involved with the recent announcement that the Ebola virus has been found in a patient in Dallas. Not only has that patient been quarantined at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but the paramedics who transported him to the hospital were quarantined while being tested for the virus. They tested negative.


Jennifer Bard, Allison professor in the School of Law at Texas Tech University, director of the Health Law Program and an adjunct associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the Texas Tech School of Medicine, is available to speak regarding laws surrounding quarantine and the Ebola virus. Bard is a regular contributor to PrawfsBlawg and has recently written an entry on the subject matter.

Talking Points

  • Bard said the recent Ebola diagnosis provides a great opportunity to throw a legal spotlight on the laws of quarantine and isolation.
  • As a matter of constitutional law, the president of the United States can take any measure necessary to protect the nation's security or interstate commerce. But only individual states have the power to take action addressing health issues that do not threaten the safety of the country as a whole.


  • “While Ebola itself is low on the list of the scariest diseases we in the U.S. risk catching, it is interesting to see how quickly it happened given that estimates only a few weeks ago were that the probability was no more than 25 percent.”
  • “Individual states, but not the federal government, retain ‘police power' to promote the health of their citizens even in the absence of a threat to others.”