Ex Tenebris Lux: Buck v. Bell and the Americans with Disabilities Act

36 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2021

Date Written: January 1, 2019


Justice Holmes's opinion in Buck v. Bell allowed thousands of people with disabilities to be forcibly sterilized. Holmes's opinion was of such a nature that it was used to support the Nazis' use of sterilization at the Nuremburg Trials. Thankfully, our nation and world began viewing people with disabilities in a different light. One such change in views became manifest in the Americans with Disabilities Act. That law, as shown above, allows plaintiffs at risk of sterilization or who are victims of such a practice, to sue public entities directly either for injunctive relief or damages regardless of any claims of sovereign immunity. Thus, the ADA stands as a blockade to one of Justice Holmes's worst opinions. As such, the ADA echoes back in time to say, "ten generations of Buck v. Bell are enough."

Suggested Citation

Warden, Derek, Ex Tenebris Lux: Buck v. Bell and the Americans with Disabilities Act (January 1, 2019). University of Toledo Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 57, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3730775

Derek Warden (Contact Author)

Louisiana Supreme Court ( email )

400 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics