Buck v. Bell

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Buck v. Bell
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Citation
Date decided May 2, 1927
Overturned by
Skinner v. Oklahoma

Facts

Carrie Buck had been raped by a relative and given birth to an illegitimate child. She was not employed, had no spouse, and lacked the means to support her child or additional children. Buck had been formally classified as mentally impaired and institutionalized for her cognitive deficits.

Buck received tubal ligation.

Arguments

Buck's defense argued that involuntary sterilization of Carrie Buck violated her due process rights.

Holding

Carrie Buck is "feeble-minded...promiscuous." It is in the best interest of the state to sterilize her.

Reasons

Oliver Wendell Holmes reasoned that the state's interest in preserving the public welfare outweighed Carrie Buck's interest in bodily integrity.

Comments