JACOBSON v. MASSACHUSETTS
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.
Did the mandatory vaccination law violate Jacobson's Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty?
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.