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Although freedom from physical restraint 'has always been at the core of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause from arbitrary governmental action,' Foucha v. Louisiana, 504 U. S. 71, 80 (1992), that liberty interest is not absolute. The Court has recognized that an individual's constitutionally protected interest in avoiding physical restraint may be overridden even in the civil context: '[T]he liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly free from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis organized society could not exist with safety to its members.' Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 26 (1905).


Accordingly, States have in certain narrow circumstances provided for the forcible civil detainment of people who are unable to control their behavior and who thereby pose a danger to the public health and safety. See, e. g., 1788 N. Y. Laws, ch. 31 (Feb. 9, 1788) (permitting confinement of the 'furiously mad'); see also A. Deutsch, The Mentally III ...

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