Morning Must Reads: December 1

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Janay Rice: Ray Told the Truth

In an exclusive NBC interview, Janay says she believes fans will forget the video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice beating her. An arbitrator overruled Ray’s indefinite suspension on Friday, calling it “arbitrary” and an “abuse of discretion”

Amazon’s Robot Army

A workforce of advanced robots at the core of Amazon’s fulfillment centers is helping the retail giant get your stuff home on time

Hong Kong Protests Turn Violent

The night marked a major reversal in direction for what student leaders have long maintained was a movement principled in nonviolence

Rams Players Use ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Pose

Five St. Louis Rams players took the field for Sunday’s home game against the Oakland Raiders with a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose that has been used by protesters in Ferguson, Mo., and across the country recently

Black Friday Sees Spending Slump

The total amount of spending for the weekend is expected to fall from $57.4 billion to $50.9 billion, an 11% decline from last year. Per-person spending is expected to hit $380.95 for the weekend, a 6.4% drop

U.N. Mission Warns That Ebola Still Poses Global Threat

The head of the U.N. Ebola mission in West Africa says there is a “huge risk” of the Ebola outbreak expanding beyond the hard-hit countries there. “That is why it is so important to get down to zero cases as quickly as possible,” he said

Body of Missing OSU Player Kosta Karageorge Found

The body of an Ohio State University football player who had been missing for five days was found in Columbus on Sunday, according to school officials. Kosta Karageorge, a 22-year-old OSU defensive lineman and wrestler, went missing early Wednesday

Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson Resigned After ‘Credible Threats’

An attorney for Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson cop involved in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, said it took Wilson “two minutes” to resign after being told of threats against the police department and officers

Republican Governors Start Slow on White House Campaigns

While 2016 presidential hopefuls such as Senator Rand Paul and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are moving ahead with White House runs, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other Republican governors are biding their time

Watch the New Better Call Saul Teaser Trailer

Viewers watching The Walking Dead mid-season finale on Sunday evening were treated to the first teaser trailer for AMC’s new show Better Call Saul. The Breaking Bad spinoff starring Bob Odenkirk will debut over two nights beginning Feb. 8

Safety Conversation Gets Louder With Two Cricket Fatalities

Two days after the demise of Australian cricket star Phillip Hughes, an Israeli umpire was also killed after getting hit by a cricket ball, further throwing the safety of the sport commonly known as the “gentleman’s game” into the international spotlight

Girl Scout Cookie Sales Go Digital

For the first time in nearly 100 years, Girl Scouts of the USA will allow its young go-getters to push their wares using a mobile app or personalized websites. But only if their scout councils and guardians say O.K.

TIME 2016 Election

Republican Governors Start Slow on White House Campaigns

Chris Christie
Julio Cortez—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hands out a pre-Thanksgiving meal at the St. John's Church soup kitchen in Newark, N.J. on Nov. 26, 2014, in Newark, N.J.

Stand in contrast to GOP senators likely to run in 2016

At the Boca Raton Resort & Club last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his entourage could hardly walk 10 yards without getting stopped. Mobbed by lobbyists and operatives in the opulent hallways and by donors in ornate meetings rooms, the outgoing chairman of the Republican Governors Association was crowded by well-wishers expressing hope he’d run for president after raising $106 million and picking up seats in Democratic states this November. Each time his response was some variation on the same: “Thanks, I’ll get back to you.”

For now, that might as well be Christie’s campaign slogan. While 2016 presidential hopefuls such as Sen. Rand Paul and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are moving ahead with White House runs, Christie and other Republican governors are biding their time. None will declare their campaigns before the New Year, and most are looking even later into 2015 to announce.

That doesn’t mean they’re standing still. The six governors looking at White House runs are doing their fair share of thinking and talking about 2016. Christie, Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Indiana’s Mike Pence and Texas’ Rick Perry are all openly flirting with presidential runs.

Behind closed doors at the resort’s yacht club and meeting rooms, the would-be candidates are mingling with donors and lobbyists, as staffs keep careful eye on the potential competition.

To be fair, the difference between running and not running can be hard to parse. Only former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has officially announced an exploratory committee to run and he’s actually doing much less campaigning than candidates who coyly say they haven’t made a decision.

But the contrast between the approach of the governors and the rest of the field is striking. Two of the three senators eyeing the White House, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Texas’ Ted Cruz, have been frequenting early states for months as they work to hire staff. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has promised a decision in weeks.

The governors, meanwhile, have largely kept to their existing team of advisors, and while they’ve traveled to the early states, have not as aggressively recruited operatives on the ground.

Veteran Republican operatives and the potential candidates themselves described little rush among the six governors to dive in the 2016 race. “If there was 2016 news here, it was how slow they’re moving,” said one operative at the meeting after conversations with multiple governors and staff.

“For senators, it’s easy to run for president,” said one veteran presidential operative currently sitting on the 2016 sidelines. “They just have to decide how to vote in between long recesses. For governors, their jobs likely make them better presidents, but make it harder to run for president because they’re managing massive organizations.”

The reasons for their delaying are myriad: finding space to run in a crowded field, the need to build support among skeptical donors, and doing their day jobs.

Donors at the meeting told governors they were in no rush to open their wallets after more than $1 billion was spent helping the GOP win earlier this month, according to several individuals involved in private meetings at the conference.

“I don’t think any governor is in a hurry to start the 2016 campaign,” said Republican operative Henry Barbour. “And even if you are somebody who was thinking about running in 2016 and were out calling donors right now, all you’re going to get is pushback. Very, very few people are willing to sign up at this point.”

The 2016 GOP nominating contest is poised to be the party’s most divisive in recent memory, with no less than 15 Republicans seriously contemplating bids for the White House. One key reason for the slow start to the governors’ primary is that they’re jockeying among each other to find a rationale to run that’s different than their colleagues’. “To me they’re interchangeable,” one veteran GOP operative said on the condition of anonymity because he is advising multiple candidates. “They fill the same space.

“They need something beyond I’m a governor and I get stuff done, because that’s what they’re all going to say,” the operative said.

Hanging over their heads is Jeb Bush’s decision, believing he will instantly attract many large-dollar donors. But his candidacy appears increasingly less likely.

Five of the six governors must present and pass budgets and handle legislative sessions next year. Multiple governors told TIME they would wait until after their legislative sessions conclude before making any final determinations.

Wisconsin’s Walker has proven to be among the most enthused about running for president after surviving a close re-election battle this fall. He said he too will wait until the late spring to make up his mind, but he is already discussing broadening his staff and expanding his federal operations. “Walker is leaning into this thing far more than people expected,” said one person familiar with his plans.

And Texas’ Perry, who will leave office in January, must first sort out his indictment in a long shot abuse of power case against him.

But just because they are taking their time announcing, that doesn’t mean they aren’t already plotting against the completion.

On a panel of governors contemplating a run for the White House, (except for Christie, who sat out the Chuck Todd-moderated event), Kasich cast himself as the moderate reformer, embracing the Common Core education standards and expressing openness to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He and Walker repeatedly quibbled over history, which Kasich lived as a member of Congress, as the Ohio governor corrected the younger Midwesterner sitting to his right on the details of the 1995-96 government budget fight.

At a press conference last Wednesday, Christie was asked about the potential for drama running against five “colleagues.”

“No, no pacts,” Christie said, joking about the potential rival sitting to his left: “I haven’t seen Pence in the corner making any pacts with anybody, but I’ll be watching. … I don’t think any of us has a secret handshake or a blood oath for what we will do and what we won’t do.”

TIME 2016 Election

Republican Governors Blast President Obama’s Immigration Plans

Rick Perry
Gerry Broome—AP Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a conservative rally in Smithfield, N.C. on Oct. 24, 2014.

Without any announced candidacies, Republican governors appear to be jockeying for position in 2016


As President Barack Obama prepares to announce executive action on immigration reform in a Thursday evening primetime address to the nation, he is already facing criticism from many of his would-be replacements.

At the annual retreat of the Republican Governors Association, a cohort of governors eyeing bids at the White House blasted Obama’s planned announcement even as they were silent on any counter-proposals to address the President’s concerns. The immigration debate, operatives in both parties say, is likely to be front-and-center in 2016.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called Obama’s forthcoming announcement a “profound mistake.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called it “the height of arrogance for this president to go around the Congress.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said someone should sue to stop it. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that his state would.

But the governors were by-and-large loath to offer their own vision for how to address the nation’s immigration issues. In 2013, after the party’s 2012 defeat, the Republican National Committee identified immigration reform as a must-pass issue for the GOP. But the GOP successfully bet on an older, whiter electorate in 2014 to justify the delay internally. House Republicans have refused to take up a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, a move that Obama has said prompted his unilateral action.

The only apparent consensus among the governors was that Obama was going down the wrong path and should first deal with securing the border. “You will not get Americans to support an immigration reform bill until—not together, but until—the border is secure,” Perry said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he would wait to see what Obama announced before weighing in. “We will have to wait and see what he says and what he does and what the legal implications are,” he said.

The governors encouraged congressional Republicans to avoid a government funding show-down this December over Obama’s immigration actions, saying a shutdown would be counterproductive. Christie said he has “confidence” in Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell can keep the government open. “All this kind of hysteria about shutdown to me is just people wanting to make news,” Christie added. “I wouldn’t push a shutdown, I think you go to court,” Walker said.

Pence called on Republicans to use the budget process to push back against Obama’s action. “The president has an opportunity now to work with the Congress after it convenes in January and to find a piece-by-piece approach in dealing with the issue of immigration reform,” he said. “The power of the Congress is the power of the purse.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday the action would affect “millions,” while advocates familiar with the action say roughly five million will be affected.

Asked about specific immigration reform proposals, Christie repeatedly declined to weigh in. “If I run [for president], we’ll see,” he said. “If I were to run for president, I would then articulate the basis for my candidacy.”

Only Kasich explicitly stated he was open to a pathway to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally. “I’m open to it, I will tell you that,” he said.

“There already is a path to citizenship in this country and I would suggest it shouldn’t be changed,” Perry said, breaking with Kasich.

TIME ebola

Kaci Hickox: ‘Stop Calling me the ‘Ebola Nurse’ — Now!’

Maine Nurse Challenges Mandatory Quarantine Order
Spencer Platt—Getty Images Kaci Hickox walks outside of her home to give a statement to the media on October 31, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine.

Nurse who was quarantined upon return from West Africa points out she never actually had Ebola

Kaci Hickox, the health worker who objected to the conditions of her quarantine upon returning from west Africa, is now objecting to being called “the Ebola Nurse” in a new op-ed that accuses state politicians of cynically manipulating public fears for political gain.

“I never had Ebola,” Hickox wrote (original emphasis hers) in a Monday op-ed in the Guardian, “so please stop calling me “the Ebola Nurse” – now!”

Hickox accused Governors Chris Christie and Paul LePage, of New Jersey and Maine respectively, of imposing “overzealous” quarantines and exaggerating the risks posed by asymptomatic health workers.

Read more at the Guardian.

MONEY Sports

NBA Chief Says, ‘Place Your Bets!’

Nationwide legalized U.S. sports betting just got a surprising ally: NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

TIME 2016 Election

The Starting Gun: Your Guide to the 2016 GOP Primary Field

Too soon? The candidates have been preparing campaigns for months

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has been working for years to bring order to the 2016 nominating process. He’s increased penalties for states that try to move up their primaries and caucuses, threatened to punish candidates who participate in debates not sanctioned by the party, and moved the convention to mid-summer, allowing for a longer general election season.

But Priebus has no control over who decides to run. And as the starting gun sounds on 2016, all signs point to another unwieldy pack of candidates competing, in many cases, for the same segments of their party.

Here is a look at the top contenders openly considering a run.

Jeb Bush: The Other Son

Jeb Bush
Wilfredo Lee—APFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks in Hollywood, Fla. on Jan. 29, 2014.

At a recent event in Washington, former President George W. Bush made a pitch for his brother’s candidacy before a group of skeptical GOP donors. “What’s the difference if it’s Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton or Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-Bush?” he said. That’s the question many Republicans are asking as they look to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to enter the race. His family is rallying around. His donor ties remain deep. The question is whether he has a path to the nomination. Out of office for more than a decade, the avowed immigration and education reformer now finds himself out of step with his party’s most conservative voters. But he has a case to make that he was born to take on Hillary Clinton.

Scott Walker: The Main Street Fighter

Scott Walker
Jeffrey Phelps—APWisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks in Milwaukee on May 3, 2014.

No one got louder cheers at the 2012 Republican convention than Wisconsin Gov. Walker, the man who had taken on what he likes to call the “big government union bosses” in his state and won. Collective bargaining rights were curtailed for state teachers and other workers, and Walker survived a union-backed effort to recall him. This year’s reelection tight at times, but he pulled off a victory. Now he can focus on the message he has been trying to hone as a candidate on the national level. He will present himself as a common-sense Republican from Main Street—far from the dysfunction of Washington.

Rand Paul: The Reinventor

Georgia Senate Candidate David Perdue Campaigns With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Jessica McGowan—Getty ImagesSen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to an audience of supporters of Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue during a campaign stop in McDonough, Ga. on Oct. 24, 2014.

No modern Republican nomination fight would be complete without a Paul on the stage, but the next generation of the political dynasty doesn’t look or talk like the last. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been touring the country with his new vision for growing the party with “libertarianish” ideas that appeal beyond the current GOP base. “The Republican Party brand sucks,” he said on a recent visit to Detroit, a line that is certain to reemerge again. His father, Ron Paul, ran as a principled prophet, uninterested in doing the difficult work of building a winning coalition. The same cannot be said for the son.

Mike Pence: The Stalwart

Mike Pence
Michael Conroy—AP9, 2014, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence answers questions in Indianapolis on Sept. 9, 2014.

A Midwestern governor with years in House leadership under his belt, Pence has standing with social conservatives, fiscal credibility and deep ties to the party’s money men, especially the Koch fundraising network. He’s also got a feel for the national mood—note his quick and early decision to pull Indiana out of the Common Core state standards—and a slashing style on the stump honed by stints in talk radio. Pence would have to overcome questions about his decision to expand Medicaid in Indiana, but count him as a sleeper threat.

Rick Santorum: The Believer

Rick Santorum
Charlie Neibergall—APFormer Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks during The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa on Aug. 9, 2014.

With little money, no pollster and few staff, Santorum spent months crisscrossing Iowa in 2011, fueled by faith that his candidacy would catch on. And it did. The former Pennsylvania senator pulled an upset in the caucuses and went on to win 11 states, finishing runner-up in the nominating contest to Mitt Romney. Now Santorum, who’s been running a Christian movie studio, sounds ready to try again with a campaign that would marry his religious conservatism to an economic message geared toward blue-collar populists. Pundits have written him off again, but there is no sign his faith is wavering.

Ted Cruz: The Evangelist

Values Voters Summit
Mark Peterson/ReduxSen. Ted Cruz (R – Texas) at the 2014 Value Voters Summit in Washington on Sept. 26, 2014.

Blessed with a supple mind and silver tongue, the Texas freshman became the Senate’s foremost spokesman for Tea Party values after he won election in 2012. A push to defund Obamacare made Cruz a superstar in conservative circles, and he’s been touring the country for more than a year, laying the groundwork for his next campaign. He sells a back-to-basics, no-apology conservatism, with policies wrapped in the rhetoric of right and wrong. And he trashes his Republican colleagues almost as much as Democrats. The fiery rhetoric has burned some of the bridges he’ll need on the way to the nomination, but nobody is better at preaching to the frustrated party faithful. The question now is whether he can convert unbelievers as well.

Chris Christie: The Tough Talker

Governor Chris Christie is Reelected to a Second Term
Brooks Kraft—CorbisNew Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie celebrates his reelection in Asbury Park, N.J. on Nov. 5, 2013.

After a 2013 landslide reelection election in a blue state, the take-no-bull governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was considered a frontrunner. He had taken on teacher’s unions and public pensions while balancing the budget and creating jobs. Then allegations surfaced that his staff closed down lanes on the George Washington Bridge for political retribution, and ratings agencies started delivering bad news about his state’s finances. Christie never stopped trudging forward, and he has yet to curb his abrasive stump persona, which could become a problem in the heckler-filled primary state. But as Chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, with lots of New York area donors in his pocket, he will certainly be a contender.

Rick Perry: The Do-Over

Rick Perry
Gerry Broome—APTexas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a conservative rally in Smithfield, N.C. on Oct. 24, 2014.

“Oops.” That one word killed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign, a clumsy, last-minute shot at the nomination from the start. But he has persevered, making repeated trips to the early primary states as his governorship winds down. This time around, with a new pair of glasses, Perry is out to show that he’s smarter than you may think. Thus far he’s been winning rave reviews, despite a recent indictment on two felony charges for allegedly abusing his power in pressuring a local district attorney to resign. Perry’s a long shot in 2016, but he’s keen to rewrite his political obituary.

Marco Rubio: The Next Generation

Senator Rubio speaks on the economy
Brooks Kraft—CorbisU.S. Senator Marco Rubio speaks on strategies for sparking economic growth in Washington on March 10, 2014.

Marco Rubio has made a career as the fresh face with an all-American story, the “son of exiles” who lived the dream of hard work and upward mobility. In 2010, that message won statewide in Florida, and Rubio has been carefully building the legislative record of a presidential candidate. He backed bipartisan immigration reform, before blaming its failure on Democrats, and has spent months laying out a hawkish vision of foreign policy far closer to John McCain than Rand Paul. Whether he makes a comeback depends on which end of the Republican Party wins its existential struggle on immigration reform. But Rubio remains popular with young and minority voters that other Republicans struggle to reach.

Mike Huckabee: The Pastor

Conservative Political Action Conference
Bill Clark—CQ Roll Call/Getty ImagesFormer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks during the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., March 7, 2014.

Eight years ago, Mike Huckabee was an Arkansas Governor with no money or political machine, betting bible-belt charisma and conservative populism could make him President. His 2008 campaign won Iowa, showed in New Hampshire and placed in South Carolina. It also earned him a TV show on Fox News, which Republican primary voters have been watching each Saturday nights for six years. With the new national profile and a heap of lessons learned, he has begun to bring his hardscrabble campaign crew back together, with an eye at trying again, this time with the money and organization he needs. He spent his youth as a radio and television broadcaster, and few are more comfortable before a camera. Watch for him in the debates.

Bobby Jindal: The Wonk

Bobby Jindal
Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call/Getty ImagesLouisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Oct. 6, 2014.

The fast-talking Louisiana Gov. got off to a rough start on the national stage in 2009, when he delivered a lumbering response to President Barack Obama’s first address to the nation. But Jindal is hoping to reintroduce himself to the nation as the party’s ideas man. Warning that the GOP needs to stop being the “stupid party,” Jindal has been most aggressive among 2016 contenders at putting policy proposals up front, and has proven to be an influencer with GOP candidates nationwide. In moves meant to please the base Jindal embraced the cast of Duck Dynasty and flip-flopped on Common Core education standards. Look for him to push his opponents to lay out specific policy plans—if he can get noticed.

John Kasich: The Pragmatist

John Kasich
Al Behrman—APOhio Gov. John Kasich speaks to supporters at Darke County GOP headquarters in Greenville, Ohio on Oct. 13, 2014.

Just two years ago, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was politically down for the count. His popularity plummeted as he tried to revamp the state’s collective bargaining rules and he earned the ire of conservatives for embracing Medicaid expansion from Obamacare. But on Tuesday, Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, pulled off a massive victory in the swingiest of swing states that has the 2016 bells ringing. Kasich made an early unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2000, and is likely to let the field develop this time around before making any decisions. If he does run, expect him to highlight his state’s economic recovery and his education reform plans.

TIME ebola

Nurse Explains Why She Fought Ebola Quarantine

'I felt like I had no choice but to fight back'

The nurse who publicly fought two states over a controversial quarantine policy for health workers returning to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries said Monday that she felt compelled to act after seeing a lack of leadership on the issue.

“The more I thought about the fact that these policies are being made by politicians, really not the experts in the field, the more I felt like I had no choice but to fight back,” Kaci Hickox told CNN, adding that the U.S. would be better served by “evidence-based policies,” not “knee-jerk reactions.”

Hickox was temporarily quarantined against her wishes in Newark, New Jersey, last month after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She showed no symptoms and tested negative for the disease. In a media blitz during her quarantine, which aimed to limit her interaction with the public during the virus’ 21-day incubation period, she decried her detainment as political and unnecessary.

She returned to her home state of Maine after being let go and quickly received media attention as she moved freely. Officials in Maine similarly tried to quarantine her, but a court ruled Hickox didn’t need to abide by the state’s wish. Still, Hickcox and the state reached a voluntary agreement Monday to stay out of public and “respect their wishes.”

“The truth is I completely understand that this town has been through a lot and there’s still a lot of fears and misinformation out there,” she said. “I think we need to start addressing those issues.”

Read next: Nurse, Maine Reach Ebola Quarantine Settlement

TIME 2016 Election

Jindal Joins Democrats in Criticizing Christie Outburst

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana speaks during an address to delegates at the Conservative Political Action Conference, National Harbor, Maryland, March 6, 2014.
Trevor Collens—Alamy Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana speaks during an address to delegates at the Conservative Political Action Conference, National Harbor, Maryland, March 6, 2014.

Little love lost between the two 2016 Republican contenders

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “bully” image is coming under bipartisan attack this week, as the likely 2016 hopeful is crisscrossing the nation this weekend in a final campaign to help elect Republican governors before Tuesday’s midterm elections.

An incident Wednesday when the outspoken governor told a protester to “sit down and shut up” at an event marking the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy quickly became cable news fodder and fed into Democratic attacks. But it has also exposed a gap on his right flank, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal distancing himself from Christie on Fox News Friday. “I do things differently,” Jindal, another likely presidential candidate said. “Look here in the South we do things maybe a little differently.”

As host Neil Cavuto pressed, Jindal continued his critique. “Chris can explain his own words,” he said. “I did say after the last presidential election, if we want voters to like us, we have got to like them first.”

There is little love lost between the two ambitious governors, who clashed over the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, and Christie’s brash persona has been essential to his political identity on the national stage. His clashes with public employees as he pushed through pension reform legislation in his first term made him a household name across the country.

Meanwhile, Democratic opposition research group American Bridge released a video Thursday collecting many of Christie’s outbursts.

TIME #TheBrief

#TheBrief: Ebola Quarantines Get Political

While the federal government works to contain Ebola in the U.S., states are taking matters into their own hands—and butting heads with the White House and the CDC in the process.

The attempt to contain the spread of Ebola in the United States is becoming political, with governors imposing varying, stringent, and sometimes unclear quarantine rules that are hard to enforce across state lines.

President Barack Obama spoke out against these policies Wednesday, saying, “We don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines. They are doing God’s work over there, and they are doing it to keep us safe.”

Here’s your brief on the science and politics of Ebola.

TIME health

Quarantine Is Being Used to Manage Fear, Not Ebola

Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie
Mark Lennihan—AP New York Governor Andrew Cuomo listens as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks at a news conference ON Oct. 24, 2014 in New York.

Arthur Caplan, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Not only is quarantine not needed for responsible people and health workers who self-monitor, if enforced it will do far more harm than good

Nervous government officials who seem more interested in appearing tough rather than letting science actually defeat Ebola in the United States are misusing quarantine.

Prominent governmental officials such as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and potential presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey have succumbed to pandering in the face of Ebola. In fact, the Governor has now doubled down on his unscientific and ill-thought through policy of quarantining those exposed to someone with Ebola. He practically begged to be sued for summarily quarantining a heroic nurse, Kaci Hickox, upon her return from West Africa, even after she tested negative for Ebola. “Whatever. Get in line…I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I’m happy to take it [the decision to quarantine] on.”

The line is already forming. Hickox, a nurse who wil not be bullied, is at the head of it. The Governor will lose. And he should. State-mandated quarantines make little sense as a weapon against Ebola in the United States.

Christie tried to imprison Hickox without any explanation or even a hint of legal due process in a tent with no running water or TV at a Newark, New Jersey, hospital after she came back from a harrowing volunteer visit to fight Ebola in West Africa. She was tossed into the tent despite the fact that she exhibited no symptoms and was not infectious. She protested her confinement, scared New Jersey officials into letting her go and headed back in a limo to her husband and hometown in Maine.

Governor Paul R. LePage now says that Maine requires health care workers such as Hickox, who return to the state from West Africa, remain under a 21-day forced home quarantine. Hickox says no way.

“Going forward, she does not intend to abide by the quarantine imposed by Maine officials because she is not a risk to others,” her attorney, Steven Hyman, told reporters. “She is asymptomatic and under all the protocols cannot be deemed a medical risk of being contagious to anyone.” Hickox will, however, do what is right and appropriate. She plans to abide by all the self-monitoring requirements suggested by the Centers for Disease Control.

Self-monitoring is the accepted, scientifically validated way to handle non-symptomatic people exposed to those with Ebola. Craig Spencer, the doctor who is now the only Ebola patient in America in a hospital, self-monitored while moving around New York City. When he got symptoms, he went to the hospital. Number of people he infected while self-monitoring? Zero.

Not only is quarantine not needed for responsible people like Hickox and Spencer, if enforced it will do far more harm than good.

Amber Vinson was the second nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to get the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who began showing Ebola symptoms after arriving in Texas and died under her care when he was finally admitted to that hospital. When she was discharged from the isolation unit at Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta, there were at least 30 doctors and nurses gathered around her as she joyfully thanked them for saving her life. I saw a room of heroes.

But if you are the Governor of New Jersey or New York or Maine, you must have seen something very different—30 people who ought to be immediately quarantined as a result of exposure to a person with Ebola. The same holds true for everyone who had any interaction with Hickox in her short stay in the isolation tent in Newark. This will include everyone in the courtroom in Maine if she shows up there, as is her right to fight mandatory quarantine.

Quarantine is a very intrusive tool in fighting disease. Our legal system permits it, but only when there are no other less restrictive ways to control an outbreak. There are less restrictive ways to contain Ebola, for example, self-monitoring and voluntary isolation at home. Those things work. The only people in America who got Ebola are health care workers who cared for Ebola patients. And to date, all but one who have been treated in America have survived. Ebola is not the lethal disease in the U.S. that it is in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, making quarantine even harder to justify.

The way to manage Ebola is with strict monitoring for symptoms. The way to manage fear and ignorance is with quarantine. The way to defeat Ebola in West Africa is to treat volunteers as responsible, moral heroes. The way to allow the epidemic to spread is to lock-up those who offer the only chance for treatment and eradication.

Arthur Caplan, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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