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Public Health Law

Studying Past Pandemics to Prepare for the Next

Polly J. Price
Professor Price is a public health law scholar, legal historian, and expert on citizenship and immigration law. She has published, lectured, and taught widely on those subjects as well as regulatory policy, federalism, property rights, and the judiciary. In 2017, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, which supported the research that resulted in her new book, Plagues in the Nation (Beacon Press 2022), which shows how epidemics have shaped US law and continue to pose challenges for disease control in democratic societies. Price’s scholarship has been recognized most recently with the 2019 Hughes-Gossett Award from the US Supreme Court Historical Society, and in 2016 she was invited to deliver the Leon Silverman Lecture at the US Supreme Court. Previous awards include a 2013 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for work in public health law and the Ben F. Johnson Faculty Excellence Award. In addition to three books, she has written dozens of journal articles, book chapters, editorials, and reviews. She is an elected fellow of the American Bar Foundation and an elected member of the American Law Institute. Since 2013 she has worked with public health agencies along the US-Mexico border, including the United States-México Border Health Commission and the US-Mexico Binational TB-ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at the University of New Mexico.

Selected Publications

Plagues in the Nation: How Epidemics Shaped America (Beacon Press 2022)

Immigration Policy and Public Health, 16(2) Indiana Health Law Review 235 (2019)

A “Chinese Wall” at the Nation’s Borders: Justice Stephen Field and The Chinese Exclusion Case, 43(1) Journal of Supreme Court History 7 (2018)

Epidemics, Outsiders, and Local Protection: Federalism Theater in the Era of the Shotgun Quarantine, 19 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 369 (2016)

Quarantines and Liability in the Context of Ebola, 131(3) Public Health Reports 500 (2016) 

Infecting the Body Politic: Observations on Health Security and the “Undesirable” Immigrant, 63 Kansas Law Review 916 (2015)

Judge Richard S. Arnold: A Legacy of Justice on the Federal Bench (Prometheus Books 2009)