In the movies when the zombie virus spreads or the trees fill us with self-loathing or Skynet becomes self-aware and tries to off the human race (ahem, IBM), no one thinks about the lawyers. But in order not to be caught with their legal pants down running toward a bunker in case of mass epidemics or terrorists attacks, New York has put together an official state legal manual to serve as a guide for judges and lawyers. The manual addresses not-at-all terrifying questions like "how the courts would decide who gets life-saving medicine if there are more victims than supplies." Says the New York Times:
Quarantines. The closing of businesses. Mass evacuations. Warrantless searches of homes. The slaughter of infected animals and the seizing of property. When laws can be suspended and whether infectious people can be isolated against their will or subjected to mandatory treatment. It is all there, in dry legalese, in the manual, published by the state court system and the state bar association.
As part of his $3.75 trillion budget unveiled yesterday, President Obama also prioritized New York City's preparedness in case of an attack, adding $41.2 million to homeland security to fight terrorism over federal programs that cover heating bills for poor families and community block grants. Hey, government, is there something we should know about?