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

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)

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  • 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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