Center for Health Law and Policy presents program on bioterrorism measures and civil liberties

The events of 9/11, the ensuing anthrax attacks, and the present threat of war with Iraq have dramatically increased concerns about bioterrorism. What is the level of the government's preparedness? Do proposed government plans to ensure the public health of U.S. citizens threaten our civil liberties? Just how sweeping should the states' powers be during a health crisis?

On Thursday, January 30, Brooklyn Law School's Center for Health Law and Policy will host a forum in which Professor Lawrence Gostin and Barry Steinhardt, Esq. the two leading voices in the debate involving the balance of public health priorities and civil liberties concerns will address this dilemma. Professor Gostin is the director of the Center for Law and the Public's Health of Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities. He is one of the authors of the Model Emergency Health Powers Act drafted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the aftermath of the anthrax attacks. Barry Steinhardt is the Director of the Technology and Liberty Program at the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has been critical of the Health Powers Act as well as proposed state legislation modeled on the Act. Gostin and Steinhardt were quoted on this topic in a May 17, 2002 Wall Street Journal article, with Gostin calling opponents of the model law "ostriches with their head in the sand," and Steinhardt observing that "the worst laws are made in time of emergency."

This theory-practice seminar will be moderated by Mark Barnes, a partner with Ropes & Grey who has also taught health law courses at the Law School as an adjunct professor, and a former assistant to the NYC Commissioner of Health.

The program will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Subotnick Center at Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon Street. For further information, please contact the Office of Special Events at 718-780-7966, or visit the Law School's Web site at

Contact: Patricia S. Weiss
Brooklyn Law School

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