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1927 U.S. Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell - Research Paper Example

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Abstract Buck v Bell, the notorious judgment of 1927 justified Virginia’s sterilization law authorizing compulsory sterilization of those whose off-springs were genetically pre-disposed to inherit their mental retardation and such other mental disabilities. …
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1927 U.S. Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell
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Download file to see previous pages Buck, although was not a mentally retarded became a victim of conspiracy by her lawyer who colluded with the state by merely opposing procedural impropriety of Virginia law. The U.S. Supreme Court merely upheld the law as compliant of fourteenth amendment without going through the mistake of fact that Buck was a mentally retarded person. Ever since, many states have enacted promptly and many have since repealed them though after decades of injustice to the forcibly sterilized victims. The genetic pre-disposition is a debatable issue and without any conclusive evidence, it is disastrous to forcibly sterilize the hapless and vulnerable persons in prisons and asylums only. What happened to eugenics, particularly enforced sterilization, in the years following the Supreme Court’s findings in the Buck v. Bell case? What is the current legal status of enforced sterilization in the U.S.? Buck v Bell (1927) case was wrong if viewed from the angle of “mistake of fact” (Larson, 2012, p. 128) but justified within the perspectives of “Eugenics”. It was a mistake of fact because Buck was not mentally retarded nor had a promiscuous life. Her own foster parents’ relatives had raped her resulting in her giving birth to a mentally retarded child which died at the age of eight. ...
It is a scientific fact that mental illnesses can be due to genetic predisposition of individuals concerned meaning that these diseases are hereditary in nature capable of being passed on to future generations or off-springs of an affected individual. Thus, the well-meant laws of state legislature could not but be upheld by the Supreme Court in deference to the wishes of the legislators. Virginia’s eugenic laws were defended by both conservatives and progressives. Republicans, Democrats, lay citizens, Christians and Jews also supported the bills. Supreme Court only upheld the popular will of States concerned. The notions of “like breeds like” and public policy considerations advocated in Plato’s Republic and the idea of encouraging best humans to reproduce were overwhelming as well (Larson, 2012, pp. 120-121). The Buck decision came in 1927 and by 1937 thirty two states had enacted compulsory sterilization laws and five more could manage sterilizations without passing laws to that effect. Merits of eugenics notwithstanding, the Supreme Court was placed with factual mistakes concerning the victim Buck and it therefore upheld the law as having complied with due process requirement that was the only dispute at issue consequent to 14th Amendment (Larson, 2012, p. 124). It is quite ironical that Supreme Court did not think it fit to hold the view that criminal behavior was inheritable and hence ruled against sterilization proposals for three times repeat offenders in the year 1942 while deciding in Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). As such, the Supreme Court has not overruled Buck so far. Skinner was overturned for reasons of sterilization as a punishment rather than ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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