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Can States Close Their Borders? COVID-19 Gives Local Authorities Wide Power


Added 03-25-20 06:20:03am EST - “North Carolina's Outer Banks, a premier vacation destination on the east coast, closed its borders to visitors on March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.?” - Freebeacon.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Freebeacon.com: “Can States Close Their Borders? COVID-19 Gives Local Authorities Wide Power”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

North Carolina's Outer Banks, a premier vacation destination on the east coast, closed its borders to visitors on March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While border closures raise difficult constitutional problems, state and local governments can and have exercised extraordinary powers to stop COVID-19 infections.

"It is largely up to the states themselves to prevent the spread of the disease within their borders, but they have broad ‘police power' authority under the Constitution to do so," Heritage Foundation's John Malcolm told the Washington Free Beacon. "Federal law, including the Stafford Act, provides ample authority to the federal government to assist in that effort."

Though the White House press briefing room is, with some justification, a fixture of press attention during the crisis, it is state and local authorities who hold the balance of power on public health issues in the United States. Even as that power is vast, its exact reach is unknown. As such, the coronavirus pandemic provides a rare occasion for the states to exert exceptional authority, perhaps even in tension with the federal government.

The Outer Banks are in Dare County, N.C. Police opened checkpoints around the county on March 17 and required residents to present government-issued identification to come and go.

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