Welcome to the first segment of Daily Dose of Con Law. Today I will be sharing a quotation from Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497, at 523-55, 541, 543 (1961) (Harlan, J. dissenting), the corpus of which was later adopted by the Court in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 497 (1965):
Due Process guarantees are the “bulwarks…against arbitrary legislation…””
The balance between liberty and the demands of organized society must be considered as a, “rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints, and which also recognizes…that certain interests require particularly careful scrutiny of the state needs asserted to justify their abridgment.”
What does this mean? It means that compulsory vaccination laws, which operate to completely preclude the ability of individuals to decline such vaccines, are not simply a cut and dry area of the law. It is not simply a matter of, hey this sounds like a good idea! Rather, it is an issue of whether the state may properly completely preclude individual liberty entirely in the name of the greater good.
See also, Holland, Compulsory Vaccination, the Constitution, and the Hepatitis B Mandate for Infants and Young Children, Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, Volume 12 Issue 1
If you can’t see how this is not about vaccines yet, stay tuned for the next DDOCL.