Kopf: An Extremely Short Blog on Covid-19

Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws against illnesses like small pox. The Court’s decision articulated the view that individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state.

The decision was 7-2. Justice John Marshall Harlan delivered the decision for the majority that the Massachusetts law did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, the Court’s decision articulated the view that individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state.

So far as I can tell, the case is still good law. So what?

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

16 thoughts on “Kopf: An Extremely Short Blog on Covid-19

  1. John Barleycorn

    Nothing better than a supreme refresher in the mornings.

    Just in time for the FDA to stamp the approval paperwork and the next year of schooling for the children to begin too…

    Now let’s see if AP picks this up:

    Senior Federal Judge From Nebraska is schooling the School Boards Again. Will John Boy Notice?

    The warm up fireworks show is already in the works, can’t wait for the main event…


    Your fan mail is gonna be epic Robed Rider. I am jealous!

      1. PseudonymousKid

        Barleycorn is a law unto himself and the embodiment of disorder and anarchy. I for one appreciate his demonstration of the overarching point the case made. Maybe it was just a happy accident, but maybe not.

      2. John Barleycorn

        But he is braver than me and he has a cooler horse that I do too…

        Plus all judges are, by nature, a bit “crazy”, and in the end there ain’t nothing normie or wrong about that.

        Go Robed Rider!!! When I become El Presidente I am gonna have you on my select, select committee on selecting judicial nominees… But first I need to convince our eesteemed host, that he needs to have a SJ Festival with at least fifty camp fires every night, so I can get me some voting converts while previewing a few of my traveling minstrel show skits…

  2. Hunting Guy

    Humm, percentage wise, fewer Blacks and Latinos got the jab than whites.

    Isn’t forcing them to get the shot racist?

    1. Richard Kopf


      Sorta. But infecting a bunch of other people who are trying to get vaccinated is nasty too.

      For example, read everything written by Thomas Hobbes (April 1588 – 4 December 1679). As you probably know, he was an English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan.

      Pardon my lecture, but this stuff gets me giddy! Particularly when it just might be “discriminatory.”

      All the best.


  3. losingtrader

    So what?
    It cost Mr Jacobson $5 and he didn’t get vaccinated.
    There was smallpox on the $5 bill and it created a major outbreak.

    Ok, before you go looking I just made up the last sentence. However, it would have been humorously ironic.

    1. Pedantic Grammar Police

      I’ll happily pay $5 to not be a guinea pig. I saw what happened during the animal trials of all the other RNA vaccines.

      1. TS

        Then you most certainly saw what happened during the animal trials of these mRNA vaccines, and should know better than to believe they’re harmful!

        Also worth noting that it was $5 in 1905 money, which Professor Google’s educated guess puts at around $130 in today’s dollars. Still a small sum for those who have been misguided into believing vaccination goes against their best interests, but more significant than a single fast food meal, at least.

  4. Rojas

    So what?
    The answer it appears is just because.
    I’m just a mechanic and I could be wrong, but I think we will come to rue the day when we decoupled vaccination from immunity.

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