***** The Law of Emergencies. By Nan D. Hunter; published by Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann, www.elsevier.com (Web); 408 pages; $79.95.
The legal considerations pertaining to emergencies—particularly to those relating to public health and disaster management—are an important topic, and this book is an excellent primer for anyone involved in these issues.
Author Nan D. Hunter approaches the country’s complex legal framework at its foundation: the Constitution and the separation of powers. She discusses how due process, equal protection, sovereign immunity, and states’ rights all factor into emergency management. These principles are frequently difficult to balance during “normal” times, and they become extraordinarily so during emergencies. As Hunter artfully argues, these critical principles must be managed amid the myriad challenges encountered during an emergency.
The author also presents and analyzes important laws and government frameworks relevant in emergencies including the Stafford Act, the Posse Comitatus Act, the Federal Volunteer Protection Act, and the National Incident Management System. Her concise treatment of each, coupled with the implications of bioterrorism, mass quarantines, individual rights, and public health and safety make for a useful—if disconcerting—look at how civil society must act during emergencies.
Since the book is largely designed for students, Hunter includes sections within each chapter that summarize learning objectives, list important terms, and provide review questions. The text’s only disappointment is its rather shallow treatment of what was arguably one of the worst natural disasters that ever occurred in this country—Hurricane Katrina.
In the end, however, Hunter more than answers the needs of her intended audience: undergraduate, graduate, and law students, as well as professionals whose work involves preparation for or mitigation of emergencies. More broadly, however, this book is worthwhile for anyone responsible for public safety and security.
Reviewer: Dr. James F. Pastor, Ph.D, J.D., is the president of Securelaw Ltd., a public safety and security services firm. He is also associate professor of public safety at Calumet College of St. Joseph and the author of three books including Terrorism and Public Safety Policing: Implications for the Obama Presidency. He is a member of ASIS International’s Agriculture and Food Security Council.