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Public Health Law

Guidelines on Papers

Topics List

Basic Structure

1) statement of the public health problem

This will differ a bit depending on whether your topic is class disease control problem like tuberculosis, or a more purely legal topic such as qualified immunity. The objective is to explain to the reader why they should care about your topic. For example, with tuberculosis you would start with the statistics on tb deaths worldwide, then some info on the US. Then you would outline the public health law issues posed by the problem. For tb, you would explain that it is contagious, that it is difficult to diagnose so there are hidden cases, and that the treatment takes a long time and if not done correctly leads to drug resistant tb. This means you have to testing, case finding, isolation, and perhaps involuntary treatment, or at least isolation until death. Cite this to CDC and other official materials, including links.

2) Introductory case/cases

These set up the basic legal framework and will usually be historical cases. You can assume that the reader will have already seen a section with basic police power cases. Continuing with the tb example, you could use an early tb isolation case such as Halko. You should edit the cases to illustrate the legal issues you want bring out as is done in casebooks. Include enough facts so that the reader gets a feel for the case.

3) Study questions

Then follow the case with study questions to illustrate the important legal problems posed by the case. In particular, you want to highlight how societal norms may have changed since the case. The key to these questions is to set up the next cases that you present so there is a logical flow to the material. (Not that every casebook manages to do this.) You can also include cites to third party materials such as articles or other cases. Do not jump ahead - these cites should be to cases and materials that are contemporary with you example, so if you are working on the early case history, do not jump ahead and give away your later materials.

3) Develop the cases

After your intro case/cases, you should have a selection of cases that show the development of the law and the current state of the law. Each of these should be followed with study questions that bring out the issues.

4) Where are we now

The final section should be a narrative that briefly recaps the law and poses questions that have not been address by the courts, logistics problems, and other problems in dealing with the problem.

Guidance on citations and excerpted materials.

This will be published so you have to be careful with the materials you use and how you cite them.

Cases and other official legal materials - While you can use excerpts of cases from Westlaw/Lexis, you cannot include any editorial work do by the publisher. That means nothing from the key numbers, the case synopsis, or anything else that is not in the court's opinion itself. When I use full text cases on my site, I only use cases from providers who do not edit and who have given me permission to use their materials. You need to cite the case with proper bluebook form and provide a link to full text if it is available on my site. I will try to post all of the cases you use, if they are available.

Print media - basic fair use rules. You can use short excerpts with proper citation, but not long passages. Government documents are fair game, they are not copyright protected, but they do need to be properly cited.

Internet media - just because it is on the Internet does not mean it there are no rights issues. You have to treat it like print media. Provide links as well as identify the source. As much as possible, stick to government materials so we do not have rights issues.

 

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