Friday, September 10, 2021

Jacobson v. Massachusetts and John Marshall Harlan

I read a post today about the 1905 US Supreme Court case Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which ruled that Massachusetts could fine Henning Jacobson for refusing to be vaccinated for smallpox: "[...] the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States [...] does not import an absolute right in each person to be [...] wholly freed from restraint." Yet the post identified the author of the opinion as John Marshall, who was Chief Justice from 1801-1835. But that turned out to be close: it was written by Justice John Marshall Harlan – who was also the lone dissenting voice in the infamous "separate but equal" decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1895.  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 September 2021)
John Marshall Harlan

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