Was Bell Connected to the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Buck V. Bell?

No. The controversial case Buck v. Bell, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws mandating the sterilization of the mentally handicapped did not violate the Constitution, was decided in 1927.

The “Bell” in Buck v. Bell was Dr. John H. Bell, who had no relationship whatsoever to Alexander Graham Bell who died in 1922.

Dr. John H. Bell was a prominent eugenicist and physician in Virginia. John Bell advocated the forced sterilization of people believed to be incompetent. Appointed superintendent of the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, in Lynchburg, John Bell became a principal in the lawsuit arranged by the former superintendent to test Virginia’s 1924 legislation allowing for forced sterilization. Carrie Elizabeth Buck, a patient at the colony, had been selected for the test case. John Bell performed the operation on Buck himself. In its landmark ruling in Buck v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Virginia’s law.

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