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Buck v. Bell

Significance, Virginia Approaches Its Courts With A "solution", Carrie Buck As A Test Case


Carrie Buck


Dr. J. H. Bell

Appellant's Claim

That Virginia's eugenic sterilization law violated Carrie Buck's constitutional rights.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Irving Whitehead

Chief Defense Lawyer

Aubrey E. Strode

Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes (writing for the Court), James Clark McReynolds, Edward Terry Sanford, Harlan Fiske Stone, George Sutherland, William Howard Taft, Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting

Pierce Butler


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

2 May 1927


Upheld as constitutional Virginia's compulsory sterilization of young women considered "unfit [to] continue their kind".

Related Cases

  • Matter of Romero, 790 P.2d 819 (1990).
  • Fieger v. Thomas, 74 F.3d 740 (1996).


Encarta, http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/22/02247000.htm. Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.

Further Readings

  • Cushman, Robert F. Cases in Constitutional Law, 6th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1984.
  • Smith, J. David, and K. Ray Nelson. The Sterilization of Carrie Buck: Was She Feebleminded or Society's Pawn. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press, 1989.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940