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March 30, 2020

ABA Legal Fact Check explores who has power to quarantine, take other actions amid a pandemic

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2020 — The American Bar Association has posted an ABA Legal Fact Check that answers a question that has been raised frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic: Who has the legal authority to order such stringent actions as quarantines and stay at home directives.

In recent days, both the president and individual governors have asserted that power. While the federal government can issue guidelines, the legal fact check shows that the legal authority to take such actions within a state belongs to the governor while the president has the authority to close the U.S. borders to foreign travelers. The fact check notes that some legal experts believe the president also has the power to regulate travel between states although that has never been affirmed by the courts.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The URL for the site is

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