Buck v. Bell

PETITIONER: Buck
RESPONDENT: Bell
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 292
DECIDED BY: Taft Court (1925-1930)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Apr 22, 1927
DECIDED: May 02, 1927

Facts of the case

Carrie Buck was a feeble minded woman who was committed to a state mental institution. Her condition had been present in her family for the last three generations. A Virginia law allowed for the sexual sterilization of inmates of institutions to promote the "health of the patient and the welfare of society." Before the procedure could be performed, however, a hearing was required to determine whether or not the operation was a wise thing to do.

Question

Did the Virginia statute which authorized sterilization deny Buck the right to due process of the law and the equal protection of the laws as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?