January 17, 2006

Supremes get it right, rebuff fundy backed attempt to outlaw physician assisted suicide law

The Supreme Court upheld Oregon's one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said that a federal drug law does not override the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting for the first time.

The administration improperly tried to use a drug law to punish Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court majority said.

"Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for himself, retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.
What does it portend that Roberts supported the Bush administration's attempt to outlaw the practice on some technicality? It's encouraging that, at least on this issue, that even if Alito were on the court and voted in favor of a ban, it still would have been upheld.


At 1/17/2006 5:26 PM, Anonymous M. said...

Consider the fact that folks of a certain political persuasion argue in favor of the right to let doctors help sick people in Oregon kill themselves, but argue against executing a convicted murderer in California because he’s old, blind and mostly deaf. Only in America.

At 1/17/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

It's good to see that even though the Oregon Drug Law is not out of the woods yet, there is one less way for the federal government to override it.

I expect that in the near future there will be another attempt by another means, but for now it seems safe.

I find it ironic that states' rights Republicans will likely oppose this court decision and will deride it as "activist."

At 1/18/2006 6:20 PM, Anonymous M. said...

It's almost as ironic that the same Supreme Court justices who have been against about the last five state's rights cases flip flopped when one came along that suited their agenda. Although this decision was right in principle, so no matter. Do you suppose they wear whiplash collars under those robes?

At 1/20/2006 7:03 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Well the Supreme court overruled states rights when they crowned the Chimperor didn't they?


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