v. Board of Health

Mary Kirk was a woman of “culture and
refinement.” She was also afflicted with leprosy, contracted
while working as a missionary in Brazil. To prevent the disease from
infecting others, the local Board of Health ordered her isolation.
Although leprosy is contagious, was the Board’s decision necessary
to protect the public?

Wo v. Hopkins

A San Francisco ordinance provided that applications
to conduct laundry businesses in wooden buildings were to be approved
or denied at the discretion of city officials. The ordinance purported
to reduce the hazard of fire, but of 280 applications, only those
made by non-Chinese applicants were approved. The Supreme Court discusses
this matter in which discrimination masquerades as public protection.

v. Massachusetts

To protect its citizens from smallpox, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts
adopted a policy of mandatory vaccination. Cantabrigian Henning Jacobson
refused to comply and faced the prescribed penalty – a fine of five
dollars. In this seminal Supreme Court challenge, Justice Harlan lays
the foundation for the next 100 years of public health jurisprudence.

States v. Emerson

Defendant Emerson was indicted under a Texas law prohibiting the
possessing a firearm while subject to a court order barring harm
and threatening behavior against an intimate partner or child. Emerson
challenged the Constitutionality of the law on the grounds of due
process violation, violation of the commerce clause, and violation
of his second amendment right to bear arms. In its decision, the
5th Circuit discusses the nature of this right and the state’s right
to limit it.

v. Evans

In 1992, Colorado voters passed a referendum
precluding all legislative, judicial, or executive actions designed
to counteract discrimination based on sexual orientation. In its finding
that this amendment to the Colorado constitution violates the Equal
Protection Clause, the majority argues that “a State cannot deem
a class of persons a stranger to its laws.” The dissent, however,
defends the amendment as “a modest attempt… to preserve traditional
sexual mores.”

Ho v. Williamson

After several alleged bubonic plague deaths,
the San Francisco Board of Health imposed a quarantine on a 12-block
district that was home to more than 15,000 residents. The public health
benefit of the quarantine was questionable, and the quarantine restrictions
were enforced almost exclusively against persons of Chinese origin.
In considering the lawfulness of the quarantine, the court hearkens
back to the reasoning of Yick Wo v. Hopkins.

of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center

Exercising it statutory power, Cleburne,
Texas denied a special use permit to a home for the mentally retarded.
The respondent sued, stating an Equal Protection argument. Is mental
retardation a classification that deserves heightened judicial scrutiny?
Is this classification rationally related to the city’s interest in
maintaining its ordinance requiring a special use permit for a “hospital
for the feebleminded?”

v. Eldridge

What kind of administrative recourse should
be available to Social Security disability benefits recipients whose
benefits are to be terminated? Hearings provide recipients with the
opportunity to be heard, but such procedural safeguards are expensive
and burdensome to the government. How should these competing interests
be balanced?

of Regents v. Roth

In 1968, David Roth received a one year appointment
to an assistant professorship at Wisconsin State University at Oshkosh.
At the end of his term of employment, the University informed him
that he would not be rehired for another academic year. Roth challenged
the decision, arguing that he was not afforded procedural due process.
In its decision, the Court discusses the scope of the Fourteenth
Amendment’s procedural due process protections.

v. Edwards

Pursuant to a state tuberculosis control
law, William Greene was granted a hearing before being committed
to a hospital. At the hearing, the court appointed counsel to represent
Greene. However, Greene was not able to meet privately with his
attorney before appearing before the judge. The Supreme Court of
Appeals of West Virginia discusses the changing requirements of
due process.