Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,300+ case briefs...

Skinner v. Oklahoma

United States Supreme Court
316 U.S. 535 (1942)



An Oklahoma statute, the Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act, allows the forced sterilization of any “habitual criminal” within the state. The statute defines a “habitual criminal” as a person who, having been convicted two or more times for crimes “amounting to felonies involving moral turpitude” either in Oklahoma court or in a court of any other state, is thereafter convicted of such a felony in Oklahoma and sentenced to prison within Oklahoma. Skinner (defendant) was convicted in 1926 of stealing chickens and sentenced to prison in Oklahoma. In 1929, Skinner was convicted of robbery with firearms and sentenced to prison. In 1934, he was convicted again of robbery with firearms and again incarcerated in Oklahoma. He was confined there in 1935 when the Sterilization Act was passed, and in 1936, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma, (plaintiff) instituted proceedings against him. Skinner challenged the act as unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. At his jury trial in Oklahoma state court, the court instructed the jury to consider only whether a vasectomy would be detrimental to Skinner’s health. The jury answered in the negative. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma affirmed a judgment directing that a vasectomy be performed on Skinner. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

Concurrence (Stone, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 486,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 486,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,300 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial