Buck v. Bell

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In Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the forced sterilization by the State of Virginia of persons considered to have low intelligence. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a utilitarian Darwinist and liberal who supported the survival of the fittest ideology, wrote the opinion for the 8-1 court and included the following remark:

"It is better for all the world, if ... society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind ... Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Id. at 207.

Only conservative Justice Pierce Butler dissented (without comment).

Buck v. Bell was later used as a foundation for Roe v. Wade.[1]

External links


  1. http://joshblackman.com/blog/2012/05/21/people-forget-that-roe-v-wade-favorably-cited-buck-v-bell/

See also