SCOTUS says Physician Assisted Suicide is OK

January 17, 2006


The group NOT DEAD YET a handicapped rights group doesn’t like the decision. They understandably believe this will lead to euthanasia and, of course, they’re right. Sooner or later it will happen.

Here’s what the AP believes is the money quote from the 6-3 decision.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said that federal authority to regulate doctors 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 prosecute Oregon doctors who prescribe overdoses, 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.

I haven’t read the entire 62 page decision here yet but wonder if the decision that further denigrates human life has buttressed the states’ rights argument that is the hallmark of the conservative agenda. If so, it’s a high price to pay.

Here’s an Oregon AP story on the left’s happiness that not-gone-yet Justice Sandra Day O’Connor voted with the majority.

“We are very pleased and very relieved. This puts to rest the legality of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act,” said Robert Kenneth of Portland, a spokesman for a group known as Death with Dignity.
“I couldn’t be happier. I am a little surprised given the nature of the court. I knew we could rely on Sandra Day O’Connor to give balance to this issue. This is a remarkable ruling as she steps down and retires,” Kenneth said.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the dissenters which included Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts:

The question before us is not whether Congress can do this, or even whether Congress should do this; but simply whether Congress has done this in the CSA [controlled substance act]. I think there is no doubt that it has. If the term legitimate medical purpose has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death.

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