JACOBSON v. MASSACHUSETTS

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
70
Petitioner 
Jacobson
Respondent 
Massachusetts
Opinion 
Term:
Facts of the Case 

A Massachusetts law allowed cities to require residents to be vaccinated against smallpox. Cambridge adopted such an ordinance, with some exceptions. Jacobson refused to comply with the requirement and was fined five dollars.

Question 

Did the mandatory vaccination law violate Jacobson's Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty?

Conclusion 

The Court held that the law was a legitimate exercise of the state's police power to protect the public health and safety of its citizens. Local boards of health determined when mandatory vaccinations were needed, thus making the requirement neither unreasonable nor arbitrarily imposed.

Cite this Page
JACOBSON v. MASSACHUSETTS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 22 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1904/1904_70>.
JACOBSON v. MASSACHUSETTS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1904/1904_70 (last visited October 22, 2014).
"JACOBSON v. MASSACHUSETTS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 22, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1904/1904_70.