Law School Case Brief
People ex rel. Barmore v. Robertson - 302 Ill. 422, 134 N.E. 815 (1922)
Every state has acknowledged power to pass and enforce quarantine, health and inspection laws to prevent the introduction of disease, pestilence and unwholesome food, and such laws must be submitted to by individuals for the good of the public. The exercise of the police power is a matter resting in the discretion of the legislature or the board or tribunal to which the power is delegated, and the courts will not interfere with the exercise of this power except where the regulations adopted for the protection of the public health are arbitrary, oppressive and unreasonable. The court has nothing to do with the wisdom or expediency of the measures adopted.
The health department's officials placed petitioner and her home under quarantine after tests showed that she was a carrier of typhoid, confined her to her home, forbade her from preparing food for anyone but her husband, and forbade anyone to come into her home. The court upheld the quarantine, denied her the relief she requested in her application for a writ of habeas corpus, and found that the department had proper authority from the state health office to impose the quarantine. Although the department did not have the authority to impose the original quarantine, the state health office issued a modified quarantine on the strength of the department's report and request for the modified quarantine.
Is the imposition of quarantine on a seemingly healthy person lawful?
The court remanded her to the custody of the department as an agent of the state health office, and held that she was bound to respect the rules and regulations promulgated by the state health office respecting the modified quarantine under which she was placed and that she was subject to statutory penalties if she violated those rules and regulations. In order to inform her of the applicable rules and regulations, the court ordered a copy of them to be provided to her.
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