States have the authority to exercise their police power to protect public health. The law upon which this authority rests has been well settled for decades. The leading case,Jacobson v Massachusetts, was decided in 1905; since that time, neither its language nor its approach has been explicitly updated, despite a medical revolution that has substantially changed the manner in which society confronts disease. Recent controversies involving two diseases, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and herpes suggest the urgency of clarifying the law governing state health actions under the police power.
Fear Itself: AIDS, Herpes and Public Health Decisions,
Yale L. & Pol'y Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol3/iss2/8