people inside helps people avoid contracting W r i t i n g

people inside helps people avoid contracting W r i t i n g

It is December 2021. The spread of misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic is rampant, and the federal government is concerned that it is threatening public health and safety. Some websites claim that the best way to stay healthy is to avoid fresh air, so meeting other people inside helps people avoid contracting the virus. Two websites recently warned that face masks attract and trap the virus, so it is safer to avoid them. A number of anti-vaccination groups claim that the virus is a hoax and that the vaccines are dangerous drugs that will turn their recipients into mindless addicts. Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to take lives, fueled by the delta variant and now possibly the omicron variant.

Conspiracy theories and misinformation are so ubiquitous, in fact, that the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has drafted emergency legislation making a 4th-degree felony for anyone to publish any Covid-19 related information, whether by the newspaper, website, podcast, Twitter, or any other source unless they are specifically licensed by the federal government to do so. The major television networks have been exempted from this legislation, and most major newspapers will easily meet the licensing criteria. However, smaller newspapers and websites may have trouble meeting the licensing requirements, which include having access to medical staff that must sign off on any Covid-19 related articles or posts. Because we don’t know when the pandemic will end, there is currently no sunset clause on this law.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has passed a law prohibiting any citizen of Massachusetts other than a state government employee from publishing Covid-19 related information, and the State of Florida has passed a law authorizing any citizen of Florida to publish Covid-19 related information, notwithstanding any federal restrictions.

The Senate Ethics Committee, while concerned about the rampant spread of coronavirus misinformation. Has some misgivings about the federal legislation. You have been hired as a consultant to analyze the constitutionality of the proposed legislation as well as its ethical ramifications. In addition, they would like you to comment on any practical concerns such a law may create.

Prepare a report to the Senate Ethics Committee, discussing whether you believe they should support this legislation, based on legal, ethical, and practical considerations. In supporting your legal position, significantly incorporate TWO of the cases studied this semester. In explaining your ethical analysis, include at least ONE of the philosophical ethical theories you learned.


– United States v. Williams

– Pentagon Papers

– Brandenburg v. Ohio


– Act Utilitarianism

– Rule Utilitarianism

– Deontology

– Social Contract

– Virtue Ethics


Posted in Uncategorized