Fox News Judge Rips Jared Kushner's Proposed Coronavirus Surveillance System, Says It Breaches the Constitution

While speaking on the Fox Business show Cavuto Coast to Coast, Fox News' senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said he considers the national coronavirus surveillance system reportedly under consideration by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner to be an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment's guaranteed right to privacy.

Kushner's task force has reportedly contacted numerous health technology companies to create a system that would allow the federal government to track patients seeking treatments for coronavirus at hospitals across the country and whether hospitals can treat those patients.

Ostensibly, the system would serve two functions: to allow the federal government to allocate resources to hospitals in need and to assess whether different areas should relax or increase their social distancing measures.

Because the hypothetical system would require hospitals to report patient names and personal medical information to the federal government, it would immediately run afoul of laws protecting patient privacy. The system also raises greater concerns about its efficacy and potential erosion of civil liberties.

"Do we really want the federal government allocating resources to hospitals, or do we want the law of supply-and-demand and hospitals deciding when and where and how much resources they need?" Napolitano asked Cavuto.

"Issue number two," Napolitano continued, "is the Fourth Amendment says the federal government, no government can't surveil you without a search warrant. They can't engage in mass surveillance whether it's for your safety or health or just for their lurid desires of knowing where everybody is."

Andrew Napolitano
Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for the Fox News Channel, testifies during a Federal Spending Oversight And Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Aaron P. Bernstei/Getty

Cavuto commented that the Patriot Act passed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks raised similar fears of increased surveillance and erosion of individual privacy.

He then mentioned that Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has floated the idea of creating an immunity registry of those who have either had COVID-19 or recovered from it with the hopes that such people might donate plasma for potentially developing a vaccine.

Napolitano called the idea "dead in the water."

"I mean, the federal government can't stop robocalls," he said. "How can the federal government be trusted to keep an accurate registry of anybody's medical condition?"

"The ends don't justify the means," Napolitano continued. "Hopefully the free market, not the government, the free market will produce a vaccine for this and we won't have to reach these issues. But if we do, if we do have to reach these issues, the constitution still applies in good times and in bad."

White House spokesman Avi Berkowitz told Politico that rumors of such a surveillance system are "completely false" and based on "unsolicited random proposals" that "Jared has no knowledge of."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for further comment. The White House hadn't responded by the time of publication.