Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Supreme Court: Assisted Suicide Decision

Breaking news in the legal world that the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, upheld Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law. The State of Oregon, basing their position on an earlier Rehnquist opinion which had said there was no Constitutional "right to die" but States might individually create such a right by law, passed the law in 1997. The Bush Administration, during the days of Attorney General Ashcroft, sought to have the law invalidated on the grounds that doctors who prescribed lethal overdoses were violating Federal drug laws.

When I took Constitutional Law at Buffalo, from Professor Gardner, he often commented that (1) Scalia was a terrible Contracts professor and (2) that State constitutions would be at the forefront of developing civil rights issues, given the more literalist reading preferred by recent Courts. That CJ Roberts sided with J's Scalia and Thomas on the dissenting side may indicate further tightening of how the document is interpreted once J. SD O'Connor steps down.


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