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Jacobson v. Massachusetts

United States Supreme Court
197 U.S. 11 (1905)


Facts

Jacobson (plaintiff) sued the State of Massachusetts (defendant) alleging that a state law authorizing cities to require citizens to be vaccinated against smallpox exceeded the state’s power. The city of Cambridge adopted such a regulation requiring a resident to undergo vaccination or be fined $5. Jacobson was unsuccessful in state court in his claim that the statute requiring mandatory vaccination was unconstitutional and violated his liberty. He appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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