Your money or your life

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7 Responses

  1. David says:

    With an infectious disease, the externality effect of refusing innoculation seems a bit more visceral than regulating bakers’ working hours.

  2. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:

    I don’t think most conceptions of dignity or the sanctity of life (secular or not) ‘ground the life interest in the individual herself,’ rather, it has something to do with the human species as a whole, or a common nature that we all share (what we used to call ‘human nature’), that serve to ‘ground’ these notions: from the Greek and Roman Stoics, through Grotius, implicit in Marx, in Martha Nussbaum’s work….

  3. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:

    I don’t think most conceptions of dignity or the sanctity of life (secular or not) ‘ground the life interest in the individual herself,’ rather, it has something to do with the human species as a whole, or a common nature that we all share (what we used to call ‘human nature’), that serve to ‘ground’ these notions: from the Greek and Roman Stoics, through Grotius, implicit in Marx, in Martha Nussbaum’s work….

  4. Edward Still says:

    Just for the record, I taught Jacobson in my Con Law class this year, and if I have time, I will bring it up again in connection with the question whether all boys and girls should get the HPV vaccine.

  5. David Bernstein says:

    If one reads Lochner closely, it’s clear that Peckham and the majority reject the notion that the Lochner law was a public health measure. Peckham was far more libertarian than any of his colleagues save Brewer, so it’s not surprising that he dissented in Jacobson. But Lochner is NOT a libertarian opinion; the Court acknowledges that the public health aspects of the Bakeshop Act were legitimate and unchallenged. The hours part of the law is unconstitutional only because the Court found that it was not a public health law, and, moreover, that neither common knowledge nor evidence presented to the Court suggested that baking was more unhealthful to bakers than the pursuit of other occupations to other workers. In short, I think you’re comparing apples and oranges, though I agree that Jacobson is any interesting case, if only to show that the caricature of the Lochner Court as extreme anti-statist is wrong.

  6. Scott Abeles says:

    The important point distinguishing the two cases, and explaining why one is disdained and the other favored, is, with respect, lost amongst the “pedagogical” and “anthropomorphism” gobblygook clouding this post. Jacobson admits the constitution doesn’t speak to vaccinations, and allows the issue to be subject to the political process. Lochner pretends the constitution speaks to bakers’ hours, and removes the issue from the political process. The question embedded in the post – whether the “state” has a legitimate interest in preserving life – would more properly be stated as whether the citizenry have a right to vote on such contentious issues, or whether they should be enshrined as a matter of constitutional law by unaccountable, unelected lawyers. Assuming one agrees that neither the state “power” or individual “right” being discussed here is found in the constitution (nor, for that matter, is any “right” to health insurance or health care), it seems obvious that the political process is not only the appropriate place, but also the only place, for the issues to be decided.

  7. Dunce says:

    I thought that Lochner was favored because it contains arguably the best Supreme Court opinion ever written. Read the dissent by Holmes and weep. It is a thing of beauty.