The COVID-19 graduating class will soon be graduating from law school. How will the fact that they have lived through the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the fact that COVID-19 deaths may soon eclipse that in the United States affect them.
Andrew Napolitano, the former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice, and frequent television news commentator and analyst has some thoughts on the matter. On one hand, Napolitano believes that seeing so many deaths from COVID-19, and so many people who approached near-death states, that the overall effect of the pandemic will be to drive many law students into public service.
The pandemic has brought forth the lesson, as never before, that we are all interdependent with one another. And where great suffering is apparent, it tends to make many people more compassionate. And as far as the government is concerned, the pandemic also brought out many questions.
Just how far should the government be allowed to step in and shut down the business to spare public health. Should masks be optional or mandatory? Are movie theatres, bars and restaurants really that dangerous that they should be closed down?
And as far as international travel is concerned, should the government be able to ban whole countries from traveling to the U.S. in the interest of public health?
As a result of the pandemic, should foreign students be prevented from entering the United States?
In addition, should states and local municipalities and private universities be able to require COVID-19 vaccinations to attend school, or require employees to become vaccinated to be able to return to work.
The Judge sees an entire decade of debate just on what it truly means to be a resident of the U.S., and who has the power to restrict the rights of assembly and to do business.
On the other hand, Andrew Napolitano also foresees a troubling trend. He anticipates that there will be a subset of new attorneys who, seeing face to face how fragile not only societies, civil rights, and life itself, will be even more materialistic than the past generation of lawyers.
If life is so fleeting he asks, how many will take the attitude, “for justice for all but let me get my share first.”Will law expenses, which are already sizable, become greater than ever post COVID-19?Also, look out, he says for a rash of lawsuits itself about the COVID-19. In actuality, there are already plenty of lawsuits, and expect thousands more.
Should a business do more to protect its employees from getting COVID-19? Should they retain them if they refuse to come to work? Or should they furlough them all? Who is to say when it is indeed safe enough for employees to go back to work?
What about the new vaccines? How many lawsuits await Pfizer or Modera or Johnson and Johnson for side effects of a vaccine that is required? They may save the world, but not without legal costs.