Interstate Travel Restrictions During Pandemic Raise Constitutional Issues

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RICHMOND, RI - MARCH 29: A car passes through a checkpoint set up in the first rest stop after crossing into the state from Connecticut on I-95 on March 29, 2020 in Richmond, Rhode Island. Gov. Gina Raimondo rescinded a quarantine order that had applied only to those traveling from New York state and instead has broadened it to apply to all out-of-state travelers. They must stop, provide information and then self-quarantine for 14 days or face a fine. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

At least sixteen states are responding to the coronavirus pandemic by imposing mandatory 14-day quarantines on out-of-state visitors. Rhode Island and Florida have gone so far as to set up police checkpoints for drivers with out-of-state plates, and Kentucky has banned residents from leaving the state, except for essential job or family-related reasons. This has some legal experts wondering whether these border-tightening measures are constitutional. We'll take up the issues with law scholar Jessica Levinson.


Jessica Levinson, professor of law, Loyola Law School