Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel Attorney General, 316 U.S. 535 (1942)

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel Attorney General, 316 U.S. 535 (1942) by Mind Map: Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel Attorney General, 316 U.S. 535 (1942)

1. Issues Before the Court

1.1. Issue in court is if the State can sterilize an individual against his will for being convicted of felonies?

2. Facts

2.1. Parties

2.1.1. Skinner(Defendant)

2.1.2. State of Oklahoma Habitual Sterilization Act (Plantiff)

2.2. What Happened

2.2.1. Oklahoma defined a “habitual criminal” as a person who, “having been convicted two or more times for crimes ‘amounting to felonies involving moral turpitude’ either in Oklahoma or another State, is thereafter convicted of such a felony in Oklahoma and is sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a Oklahoma penal institution.”

2.3. Procedural History

2.3.1. Such habitual criminals could be subject to forced sterilization. Skinner had been twice arrested for theft offenses before being arrested and confined for armed robbery. During his third incarceration, the Act was passed and proceedings were instituted against him.

3. Application

3.1. Skinner represents the Supreme Court of the United States’ growing awareness of the right to reproductive autonomy.

3.1.1. Later cases that focus on due process and a right to privacy, the majority in Skinner holds that sterilization in the present situation violates equal protection principles. Violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment Skinner (defendant) was convicted in 1926 of stealing chickens and sentenced to prison in Oklahoma. In 1929, Skinner was convicted of robbery with firearms and sentenced to prison. In 1934, he was convicted again of robbery with firearms and again incarcerated in Oklahoma

4. Rule of Law

4.1. Rule before the court is the right to have offspring is a fundamental right, requiring a compelling state interest to interfere with it.

4.1.1. The impact the Court held that treating similar crimes differently violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

5. Conclusion

5.1. Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruling reversed. Justice William Douglas (J. Douglas) notes that sterilization of habitual offenders in no way guarantees that new offenders will not be born. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that habitual offenders would spawn offenders themselves.

5.1.1. Judge Douglas cannot justify the distinction between larceny (involving moral turpitude) and embezzlement (not involving moral turpitude) in the eyes of the statute. This is clear discrimination in J. Douglas’s view. In terms of fines and imprisonment the crimes are identical to the State. Only when it comes to sterilization do the crimes differ. As such, equal protection is violated. Concurrence. Chief Justice Harlan Stone (Judge Stone) concurs in the judgment, but rests his decision on due process grounds, arguing that the invasion of personal liberty is too great.

6. Impact

6.1. The impact the Court held that treating similar crimes differently violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

6.1.1. That a state law authorizing sterilization of selected felons held in the Oklahoma penitentiary violates the Fourteenth Amendment's due process of law guarantee.

7. Implication

7.1. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma affirmed a judgment directing that a vasectomy be performed on Skinner. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari

7.1.1. When the law concerning those who have committed intrinsically the same type of offense punishes one, but not the other by depriving the one of a fundamental right, an invidious discrimination has been made.

8. Influences

8.1. Stump vs Sparkman-(1978), is the leading United States Supreme Court decision on judicial immunity. It involved an Indiana judge who was sued by a young woman who had been sterilized without her knowledge as a minor in accordance with the judge's order. The Supreme Court held that the judge was immune from being sued for issuing the order because it was issued as a judicial function. The case has been called one of the most controversial in recent Supreme Court history

8.2. Kass v. Kass-(1992),Maureen Kass (Plaintiff) and Steven Kass (Defendant) were married and, in an effort to have children, attempted in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. The procedures resulted in five frozen preembryos. The couple signed an agreement that if they could not agree to the disposition of the preembryos, the preembryos would be donated to the IVF program for research. Shortly after signing this agreement, Plaintiff filed for divorce and sued for custody of the preembryos so that she could have them implanted. Defendant objected and moved for specific performance of their agreement.