As news comes in of the potential lawsuit being filed in New Jersey on behalf of the nurse who recently returned from treating patients of Ebola in West Africa, I wonder what the legal justification is for holding her against her will.
The obvious answer is in deference to various public health statutes on the books both in New Jersey and Federally. However, this case appears different because she is still considered 100% harmless to public health by the medical community, but is still being held by the government. What empowers the government to impose a medical practice on someone against the wishes of the medical community?
It appears to me that the government will have a very tough time arguing that there is an overriding public health case that justifies their actions. Is this the only case they can make, or is there other precedence the New Jersey government can rely on in this case to detain her anyway?