Buck v. Bell: The Supreme Court upholds forced sterilization


January 23, 2023

In a tragic, landmark ruling of historic dimensions, the Supreme Court, in 1927, in an opinion written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, upheld the forced sterilization of a Virginia woman erroneously characterized by the state as “feeble-minded,” grounded on the chilling rationale that, “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

The Court’s 8-1 decision in Buck v. Bell, with only J...

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