View Single Post
Old 03-28-2020, 03:08 PM
Stranger On A Train is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 19,882
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Apparently the president thinks he has the authority to quarantine, as he says he's considering quarantining hot spots in New York "probably New Jersey" and "certain parts of Connecticut." He says he'll decide sometime today.
...I'm unclear as to what this would entail and how it would be enforced. I'm assuming roads to and from these areas would be blocked, but by whom? The military? Would the Coast Guard stop water craft? Would the FFA shut down airports?
The Commerce Clause (US Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) gives the Congress the power to regulate ‘trade’ between the states; this has been broadly interpreted to include the illegal drug trade under the premise that even if the drug transactions themselves don’t cross state lines the money involved will. Such a premise could, I suppose, be applied to individuals taking their ‘trade’ from one state to another but that would be an enormous reach that I don’t think federal courts would uphold long before it gets to the SCOTUS level.

Trump, of course, has no power to prevent anyone from crossing state lines, and how he would instruct the Justice and Commerce Departments to enforce any attempt at an executive order is...well, unclear at best. The only way he could actually make this happen is to suspend the Posse Comitatus Act and declare martial law. Given that he would be doing this for the express purpose of preventing New Yorkers from travelling to Florida, rather than a general order of martial law for a specific public safety or national security purpose, I can’t see this as going well for him.