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REETZ V. MICHIGAN, 188 U. S. 505 (1903)

U.S. Supreme Court

Reetz v. Michigan, 188 U.S. 505 (1903)

Reetz v. Michigan

No. 143

Argued January 21, 1903

Decided February 23, 1903.

188 U.S. 505


A state has power to make reasonable provisions for determining the qualifications of those engaged in the practice of medicine and for punishing those who attempt to engage therein in defiance of such statutory provisions.

Act No. 237 of Michigan of 1889 creating a board of registration in medicine is not in conflict with the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

There is no provision in the federal Constitution forbidding the state from granting to a tribunal, whether called a court or a board of registration, the final determination of a legal question. Due process of law is not necessarily judicial process, nor is the right of appeal essential to due process of law.

When a statute fixes the time and place of meeting of any board or tribunal, no special notice to parties interested is required to constitute due process of law, as the statute itself is sufficient notice.

A state statute requiring the registration of physicians and prohibiting those who are not so registered from practicing thereafter is not an ex post facto law as to a physician who had once engaged in practice, but who was held not to be qualified and whose registration was refused by the board of registration appointed under the statute, such statute not providing any punishment for his having practiced prior to the enactment thereof.

Act No. 237 of the public acts of the State of Michigan (1899) directed the appointment of "a board of registration in medicine," to hold two regular meetings at specified times in each year at the state capitol, and additional meetings at such times and places as it might determine; required all persons engaging in the practice of medicine and surgery to obtain from such board a certificate of registration; prescribed the conditions

Page 188 U. S. 506

upon which such certificate should be granted, and forbade, under penalty, the practice of medicine or surgery without such certificate. The conditions above referred to were either a satisfactory examination, or the possession of

"a diploma from any legally incorporated, regularly established, and reputable college of medicine, . . . having at least a three years' course of eight months in each year, or a course of four years of six months in each year, . . . as shall be approved and designated by the board of registration,"

with a proviso that

"the board of registration shall not register any person by reason of a diploma from any college which sells, or advertises to sell, diplomas 'without attendance,' nor from any other than a regularly established and reputable college."

Another provision was that an applicant should be given a certificate of registration if he should

"present sufficient proof within six months after the passage of this act of his having already been legally registered under act No. 167 of 1883, as amended in 1887, entitled 'An Act to Promote Public Health.'"

The plaintiff in error was prosecuted and convicted in the circuit court for the County of Muskegon of a violation of this statute, which conviction was affirmed by the supreme court of the state, 127 Mich. 87, to reverse which ruling this writ of error was sued out.

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