Duquesne Law Review


William Brooks


The Supreme Court has recognized that civil commitment constitutes a significant deprivation of liberty that requires due process protection. A state's ability to commit the mentally ill is subject to the due process limitations of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the circuit courts have held that civil commitment by private physicians to private hospitals does not constitute state action for Fourteenth Amendment purposes. The author proposes that the "state action" doctrine extend to civil commitment by private physicians, and criticizes federal decisions that have held otherwise.

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