If you like compulsory vaccinations, you'll love child labor and the Espionage Act

A reader makes a terrific point about the context of the 1905 Jacobson Supreme Court decision (which upheld Massachusetts's right to force smallpox vaccinations)...

I hadn’t even considered this, but of course he’s right. He mentions 10 terrible Supreme Court rulings below. Most - including, of course, Plessy - have been stuffed in the dustbin of history, where they belong. The left loudly cheered their reversal.

But Jacobson - a 116-year-old ruling about a virus roughly 100 times as deadly as Sars-Cov-2 - must be preserved forever and forms the core support for a mandatory vaccination scheme.

Makes total sense.

All the happy talk about Jacobson/vax has really been bothering me, so I went back and looked at the period surrounding this alleged Jewel of the Enlightenment.

Between Dred Scott and the New Deal court, the Supreme Court continuously held that individuals had few if any rights as individuals.  The vax decision [Jacobson] sits squarely in the middle of a timeline where nine white men in robes loudly scoffed at the idea that there was anything more important than the sheer brute power of business and government.

Check out the line-up of horrific cases that surround the alleged "mandatory vax is permissible" law. 

Who would want to live in a time and place where this kind of legal thinking held sway? 

  • 1883: "Racial discrimination is awesome" - Civil Rights cases [8-1]

  • 1895: "Monopolies are awesome" - US v EC Knight [8-1]

  • 1896: "Separate but equal" - Plessy v Ferguson [7-1]

  • 1905: Jacobson v Massachusetts [7-2]

  • 1905: "Workers do not have and cannot have any rights vis-a-vis their employer" - Lochner v New York [5-4]

  • 1917: "You can go to jail for questioning the government" - Debs v US [9-0]

  • 1919: "You can go to jail for speech we don't like" - Schenck v US [9-0]

  • 1918: "Child labor is A-OK" - Hammer v Dagenhart [5-4]

  • 1923: "Minimum wage laws are illegal" - Adkins v Childrens Hospital [5-3]

  • 1927: "Your Fallopian tubes belong to us" - Buck v Bell [8-1]