Meyer v. Nebraska

Updated: Jun 6

Today in Supreme Court history finds the case of Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923). A U.S. Supreme Court case that held that a 1919 Nebraska law restricting foreign-language education violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Nebraska law had been passed during World War I, during a period of heightened anti-German sentiment in the U.S. The Court held that the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment applied to foreign-language speakers.

Liberty, the Court explained, means more than freedom from bodily restraint. It also includes the right of a teacher to teach German to a student, and the right of parents to control the upbringing of their child as they see fit. While the state has a legitimate interest in encouraging the growth of a population that can engage in discussions of civic matters, the means it chose to pursue this objective was excessive.


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