Buck v. Bell

274 U.S. 200 (1927).

A 1927 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that considered the constitutionality of a Virginia law proving for involuntary sterilization of the mentally retarded who were in state institutions.  The Court held the law to be constitutional.  In delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that, “[i]t is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”  Id. at 207.

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