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Whose duty is it to protect citizens?

Whose duty is it to protect children, the poor, and victims of domestic abuse? According to the "no duty to protect" rule, it is not the government's legal duty. Reflect on your reading from this week. Think about how the "no duty to protect" rule affects vulnerable groups in particular and how it affects what a public health professional can do for these individuals.
Review the DeShaney, Webster, and Castle Rock Supreme Court cases presented in Chapter 3. Consider what could have been done to protect these individuals and why they weren't protected.

QUESTIONS

1. Explain the Supreme Court's position regarding the duties and responsibilities of health agencies to protect the public's health and safety.

2. Based on your understanding of the Supreme Court's views, critique the court's position from a legal, ethical, and public health perspective.

Reference

Gostin, L. O. (2008). Public health law in the constitutional design. Public health law: Power, duty, restraint (2nd ed.) (pp 87-110). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

NB. Textbook can be found on google book by pasting on google page "Public health law in the constitutional design. Public health law: Power, duty, restraint (2nd)"

(Lawrence Ogalthorpe Gostin - 2008 - Law - 767 pages free pages on googlebook)

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Here is my response to the problem. Please use it as a guide to how to approach and answer the questions. I hope my contribution helps towards shaping your view and understanding of the issues.

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1. Explain the Supreme Court's position regarding the duties and responsibilities of health agencies to protect the public's health and safety.

Whilst the Constitution provides that no State is to "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" (Article XIV), it does not impose any positive duties on the government to act, intervene or protect citizens "against invasion by private actors" (Rehnquist, cited in Gostin 2008, p. 32). The 'due process' clause limits the State's power over the individual, but does not impose duties on States, when it comes to protecting citizens from each other.

The Supreme Court's position is to follow the Constitution (Gostin, p. 32). This has at times resulted in detrimental consequences to individuals and groups. The devastating effects of this rule can be seen in the DeShaney case where a child was left unprotected in his father's care, even when it became known that the father was abusing the child. Nothing was done to intervene and the child ended up institutionalized with brain damage (pp. 32-33). In ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides insight into the "no duty to protect rule" and gives a critique from a legal, ethical and public health care perspective

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