Mr. Quarantine, Meet Miss Liberty

In the wake of Sept.11 and the anthrax mailings, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that states adopt a model law creating sweeping new powers to deal with public-health emergencies. State officials could order citizens to be vaccinated, quarantine those suspected of having a contagious disease, take over hospitals and physicians' offices and seize and destroy property deemed a threat to public health. Since January at least 30 states have considered adopting all or part of the model law, but they've run headfirst into a motley coalition of civil liberties groups, religious conservatives, free-marketeers and gay-rights activists. As a result, many...

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