By Lindsay F. Wiley
COVID-19 mitigation orders, court decisions adjudicating challenges to them, and legislation adopted to constrain similar orders in the future are constituting a new body of law governing social distancing.
The emerging law of social distancing is vital to the future of public health. It also offers more general lessons about how law interacts with individual behavior, social norms, and social contestation of what we owe each other as members of a community.
Social protests — including massive protests for racial justice and against police violence as well as much smaller anti-lockdown protests — are playing an important role in these developments.