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Law in the Time of COVID-19

Law in the Time of COVID-19 Course

Law in the Time of COVID-19 is a 2-credit course for UW Law students.UW Law banner

Because of public interest and the importance of this topic, the instructors are sharing some of its content. We will post reading (and listening) assignments here.

Weeks 2-7 will include webcast panels, which will be available to the public.

Only students enrolled in the class will have access to the class discussions and the course Canvas page. (And only the students in the class are required to write papers.)

Week 1

Nathan Furr, You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Uncertainty, Harv. Bus. Rev. (March 27, 2020)

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, A Virus Doesn't Discriminate, CNN podcast & transcript (March 27, 2020)

Isaac Chotiner, How Pandemics Change History, New Yorker (March 3, 2020). Interview with Frank M. Snowden, author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present (2019).

Week 2: Global & Public Health Law

Public Panel

April 9, 2020, 12:20-1:20 pm Pacific Time


Dean Mario Barnes (UW Law)


Steve Calandrillo (UW Law)

Patricia Kuszler (UW Law)

Anna Mastroianni (UW Law)

Sallie Sanford (UW Law)

Allyn Taylor (Independent)

Law in the Time of COVID-19: Global & Public Health Law panel, April 9, 2020


Lawrence Gostin & Sarah Wetter, Why There's No National Lockdown, Atlantic (March 31, 2020)

Lisa Rosenbaum, M.D., Harnessing Our Humanity — How Washington’s Health Care Workers Have Risen to the Pandemic Challenge, New Eng. J. Med. (April 1, 2020), DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2007466

Allyn Taylor, Health, in The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Treaties (Simon Chesterman et al. eds., 2019). (Link is to UW-licensed online version. Print book is also held by University Libraries but it is inaccessible during COVID shut-down.)

John Witt, The Law of Salus Populi: Epidemics and the Law, Yale Review

Denise M. Dudzinski, COVID-19 Ethics FAQ , UW Dep't of Bioethics & Humanities (March 27, 2020)

Week 3: Constitutional Law & Individual Rights

Public Panel

Thursday, April 16, 2020, 12:30-1:20pm Pacific Time


Erwin Chemerinsky (Berkeley Law)

Lisa Marshall Manheim (UW Law)

Law in the Time of COVID-19: Constitutional Law & Individual Rights panel

Readings (& Viewings)

Erwin Chemerinsky, Trump Doesn't Have the Authority to Order the Country Back to Work by Easter, Seattle Times (3/25/2020). Link is to Seattle Times. If you are stopped by the paywall, see Erwin Chemerinsky, Op-Ed: Trump doesn’t have the authority to order the country back to work by Easter. Here’s why, L.A. Times (March 25, 2020)

ACLU Videos:


Jeff Greenfield, How Coronavirus Will Blow Up the 2020 Campaign, Politico (April 12, 2020)

Daniel B. Rodriguez, Professional Regulation and Federalism in the Coronavirus Crisis: Let’s Remove Access Barriers, Harv. L. Rev. Blog (April 15, 2020)

Week 4: Labor & Employment Law Issues

Public Panel

Thursday, April 23, 2020, 12:30-1:20 (Pacific)


Jennifer S. Fan (UW Law)

Orly Lobel (University of San Diego)

Lea Vaughn (UW Law)

Law in the Time of COVID-19: Labor & Employment Issues


Alexander W. Bartik et al., How Are Small Businesses Adjusting to COVID-19? Early Evidence from a Survey, NBER Working Paper No. 26989 (April 2020)

Jonathan I. Dingel & Brett Neiman, How Many Jobs Can Be Done at Home?, NBER Working Paper No. 26948 (April 2020) (UW resource)

Justin Ho, Small businesses uncertain about emergency loan applications, Marketplace (April 15, 2020)

Orly Lobel, The Debate Over How to Classify Gig Workers is Missing the Bigger Picture, Harv. Bus. Rev. (July 24, 2019) (link to SSRN); same article on Harv. Bus. Rev. site.

Brianna McGurran & Kelly Ann Smith, List of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Loan and Grant Programs, Forbes (last updated April 10, 2020)

OSHA, U.S. Dep't of Labor, OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers During a Pandemic (Aug. 2014)

Small Business Administration, Interim Final Rule for the Paycheck Protection Program, 85 Fed. Reg. 20,811 (April 15, 2020)

Wage & Hour Div., U.S. Dep't of Labor, Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights (March 2020)

Wage & Hour Div., U.S. Dep't of Labor, Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements (March 2020)

Week 5: Vulnerable Populations

Thursday, April 30, 2020, 12:30-1:20 (Pacific)

Vulnerable Populations. Webcast will focus on people behind bars.


Nick Allen (Deputy Director of Advocacy, Columbia Legal Services)

La Rond Baker (King County Department of Public Defense)

Angélica Cházaro (UW Law)

Jacqueline McMurtrie (UW Law)

David Montes (King County Department of Public Defense)

Moderator: Kimberly Ambrose (UW Law)

Law in the Time of COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations—Prisons, Jails, and Immigrant Detention Centers

Readings (and Viewings)

Joan Naviyuk Kane, Passing through Danger: Finding Words for This Pandemic in Inupiaq, Yale Rev. ([2020])


Christopher Carney, Decarceration and Public Health (April 30, 2020)

Colvin v. Inslee oral argument, Wash. Supreme Court, April 23, 2020

Sheri-Lynn S. Kurisu & Brittney Anda, Incarceration and COVID-19. Google Doc with annotated bibliography and list of resources.

Fraihat v. U.S. ICE, No. 19-1546 (C.D. Cal. April 20, 2020) (ordering ICE to “identify and track” every person in ICE detention at an elevated risk of complications from COVID-19 and to consider releasing those detainees, regardless of their legal status)

Anna Castro, TLC, Ballard Spahr, & Rapid Defense Network Announce Class Action Lawsuit to Free All Transgender People in ICE Custody, Transgender Law Center (April 23, 2020)

Week 6: Operation of the Courts and Legal System

Public Panel

Thursday, May 7, 2020, 12:30-1:20 PM Pacific


Dan Clark (Chief Criminal Deputy, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)

Jeff Feldman (UW Law)

Liz Porter (UW Law)

Brenda Williams (UW Law)

Law in the Time of COVID-19: Operation of the Courts and Legal System



Interview with King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg by Scott Schumacher (UW Law), May 4, 2020)

George Bermann, Dispute Resolution in Pandemic Circumstances, in Law in the Time of COVID-19, at 167 (Katharina Pistor ed., 2020)

Criminal Statutes of Limitations and Speedy Trial Act Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Covington Alert (April 3, 2020)

Michael B. Gerrard, Emergency Exemptions from Environmental Laws, in Law in the Time of COVID-19, at 81 (Katharina Pistor ed., 2020)

Week 7: The Role of Technology & Information

This week's topic, “The Role of Technology and Information,” includes information policy, intellectual property, EdTech, surveillance, privacy, and a host of other issues. The public panel will be From Ed Tech to Contact Tracing Apps: Technology Safeguards During the Pandemic

Public Panel

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 12:30-1:20

Ryan Calo (UW Law)

Elana Zeide, PULSE Fellow in Artificial Intelligence, Law & Policy, UCLA

Michelle Richardson, Center for Democracy and Technology



Enlisting Big Data in the Fight Against Coronavirus, Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Commerce, Science, & Transportation (April 9, 2020)

Jen Patja Howell, The Lawfare Podcast: Is Contact Tracing a Privacy Threat?, Lawfare (April 18, 2020)

Susan Landau et al., The Importance of Equity in Contact Tracing, Lawfare (May 1, 2020)

Clarisa Long, Privacy and Pandemics, in Law in the Time of COVID-19, at 89 (Katharina Pistor ed., 2020)

Jeffrey D. Neuburger, Open COVID Pledge Rolled Out to Make Patents and Other IP Available for COVID-19 Response, National Law Review (April 21, 2020)

Ashkan Soltani, Ryan Calo & Carl Bergstrom, Contact-tracing apps are not a solution to the COVID-19 crisis, Brookings Tech Stream (April 27, 2020)

From Ed Tech to Contact Tracing Apps: Technology Safeguards During the Pandemic