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Oregon Assisted Suicide Law Upheld

Discussion in 'News' started by KING BLING, Jan 17, 2006.


    KING BLING Guest


    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's one-of-a-kind assisted-suicide law.

    It was the first loss for Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined the court's most conservative members -- Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- in a long but restrained dissent.
    The administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to pursue Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court said in a rebuke to former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    The 6-3 ruling could encourage other states to consider copying Oregon's law, used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people in that state. The decision, one of the biggest expected from the court this year, also could set the stage for Congress to attempt to outlaw assisted suicide.

    "Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority -- himself, retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

    Kennedy emerges as swing vote
    With this decision Kennedy showed signs of becoming a more influential swing voter after O'Connor departs. He is a moderate conservative who sometimes joins more liberal members on cases involving such things as gay rights and capital punishment.

    In some ways, the decision was an anticlimactic end to the court's latest clash over assisted suicide.

    The case was argued in October on Roberts' second day on the bench, and he strongly hinted that he would back the Bush administration. Some court watchers had expected O'Connor to be the decisive vote, which could have delayed the case until her successor was on the court. The Senate is set to vote soon on nominee Samuel Alito.

    Justices have dealt with end-of-life cases before, most recently in 1997 when the court unanimously ruled that people have no constitutional right to die. That decision, by then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, left room for states to set their own rules.

    The Tuesday ruling, and dissents, were tinged with an understanding about the delicate nature of the subject. The court itself is aging and the death of Rehnquist this past September after a yearlong fight with cancer was emotional for the justices.

    Scalia said in his dissent that the court's ruling "is perhaps driven by a feeling that the subject of assisted suicide is none of the federal government's business. It is easy to sympathize with that position."

    At the same time, Scalia said federal officials have the power to regulate doctors in prescribing addictive drugs and "if the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death."

    Roberts, Thomas join dissent
    He was joined in the dissent by Thomas and Roberts. Roberts did not write separately to explain his vote. Thomas also wrote his own dissent.

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president remains fully committed to building a culture of life, a culture of life that is built on valuing life at all stages."

    The court majority dealt harshly with Ashcroft, who in 2001 declared that Oregon doctors who helped people die would be violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. Lower courts prevented any punishment while Ashcroft's authority was contested by the state of Oregon, a physician, pharmacist and terminally ill patients.

    Kennedy said the "authority claimed by the attorney general is both beyond his expertise and incongruous with the statutory purposes and design."

    Oregon's law, which was passed by voters, covers only extremely sick people -- those with incurable diseases and who are of sound mind. At least two doctors must agree the ill have six months or less to live before they can use the law.

    State: Doctors can act without fear
    "For Oregon's physicians and pharmacists, as well as patients and their families, today's ruling confirms that Oregon's law is valid and that they can act under it without fear of federal sanctions," said state Solicitor General Mary Williams.

    The ruling backed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said Ashcroft's "unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician-assisted suicide."

    The court's ruling was not a final say on federal authority to override state doctor-assisted suicide laws -- only a declaration that the current federal scheme did not permit that. However, it still could have ramifications outside of Oregon.

    "This is a disappointing decision that is likely to result in a troubling movement by states to pass their own assisted suicide laws," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which backed the administration.

    Roberts is a hack, so is Scalia and Thomas...the supreme court had previously allowed states (Oregon) to utilize death with dignity laws to provide some real world info on the issue and because it was not clear if the constitution would be upheld by denying it. It was a logical move, and to deny the ability of a doctor to assist is like having abortion legal but doctors forbidden to perform them...

    Can we get a 'yay personal liberty and states rights'? These are things that clearly the president and now advocate right wing justices clearly support because they say so...but shhhhhh, they don't really
  2. John Birch

    John Birch Member

    Joined: Apr 14, 2004 Messages: 747 Likes Received: 0
    'yay personal liberty and states rights'

    now if only we get a reversal of "marijuana personal use is an interstate commerce issue" ruling...
  3. angelofdeath

    angelofdeath Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 4,375 Likes Received: 79
    states rights are non existent in this country. its funny only liberals trump them incases of assisted suicide and race issues. i didnt hear liberals bad mouthing Brown vs the board....
    the conservatives "fucked" up on the court in my opinion, however i can totally see where they are coming from. its funny when you think about it, how the framers of this country intended the judiciary to be the least powerful, now it is approaching the most powerful, and congress has no balls to restrain any of it. the conservative backed initiative to limit the courts jurisdiction of social issues, would have solved this problem. same with drugs. im straightedge, but i dont think it should be a federal issue.

    personally, i think we should be back to 3 federal crimes. treason, piracy and counterfeiting.

    KING BLING Guest

    I don't "trump" states rights - I think a good balance between federal and state power is in order in a more sophisticated and equality oriented world. I always talk about states rights because most of your right leaning peers are hypocrites and scream and hollar about advocate judges and states rights only when it fits their agenda...this is an example of this

    I also don't see any evidence in the constitution that the judiciary was meant to be the least powerful. Can you clarify this without refering to the writings of so-and-so historical figure whose opinions might be important but have no bearing on the interpretation of law?
  5. angelofdeath

    angelofdeath Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 4,375 Likes Received: 79
    yo bling:

    i see what your saying. the same could be said about liberal judges. they spit the rhetoric, but in the end let the liberals down.
    so, your actually admitting to being a hypocrite just like the so called conservatives? they tend to think the same way... a balance of states rights and federal power, in certain cases. :)

    there is evidence that the framers of our government wanted the supreme court to have the "least" power, and the congress the most power, as it was closest to the people. after all the federal judges were unelected and practically untouchable. many didnt even want a supreme court. the battle over this during the constitutional convention period, pretty much sums it up. but i see no need to further back up my case, because you have no use for explanations of the constitution, by those who wrote it. to not take into consideration the thoughts of the authors of the document, is to further reinforce the idea of judicial supremacy, "legislating from the bench" and "I THINK IT SAYS..." instead of "IT SAYS." (loose construction vs strict construction)
  6. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623

    that's true
    i don't bad mouth brown v board
    but i didn't come on here whining when gays were denied equal rights
    and i have since read that even if roe is overturned abortion rights would be protected in my state
    so i'm not sure it's as cut and dry as yoou describe it.

    maybe i don't fit in with your definition of liberal, but i can't remember a single instance when i said states rights were trumped by executive/federal power

    obviously a 'check and balance' system was intended between all branches of the gov't
    and that balance is clearly out of whack.

    now that the court is packed with conservative judges who believe in expansive prez power, well, maybe not packed, but things will swing his way i bet.

    ..and to stay on topic,
    why the fuck shouldn't people be allowed to decide?
    always with the government meddling.
    you can't die!!!!!
    no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you must live throgh the endless suffering!!!!!!
  7. angelofdeath

    angelofdeath Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 4,375 Likes Received: 79
    "and i have since read that even if roe is overturned abortion rights would be protected in my state"

    yup. this is what i have been saying all along. this is the beauty of federalism. in our country it was pretty simple... say you really want to carry a gun without a permit, open, on your waist. obviously most states dont allow this,unless you jump through some serious hoops. but vermont and alaska do. you could move there if you dont agree with your states policy and it doesnt look like its changing.
    the country was supposed to have a small federal government protecting from invasion, coining money, maintaining post roads, navy, etc etc, not be involved in everyone movement of our lives. the powers not enumerated in the constitution were to be left to the states. decentalization, means greater liberty. if roe is overturned, almost to a note, the red states will ban abortion and the blue states will allow it. this is the best compromise that can be made on the issue. the issue is not federal AT ALL. the leftists will claim so, because they love big brother to shell out hand outs, and complete thier agenda.

    the problem arises when the rights of the states are usurped and the establishment politicians cry racism or sexism or what have you when they wont leave issues up to the people/the states, VIA the 9th and 10th amendments. another check that has been eliminated was the 17th amendment which now allows for direct election of senators. under the old plan, the state representatives elected by the people elected the US senators and they had to answer to the states.

    i have a problem with some of the judges who believe in a supreme presidential power. im sure it all has something to do with the "you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours" deals in politics. for the first time in my life, i was happy with teddy bear kennedy when he was questioning alito's presidential authority views. although it was purely partisan and purely to "republican" bash, and im sure he would of loved to make clinton supreme dictator of the US, i gotta give it to him. he did some good questioning. (although he blew it in other areas)
    i also have a problem with so called libertarians who only toot the states rights horn in cases of drug legalization. these stoners give that party a bad name. they hear "wow dude wants to legalize pot.... which box do i check?" and have no concept of what limited government is.
  8. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    that's cool that you have an open mind about teddy
    sure, he's as career a politician as you can get
    pure bureaucratic lefty
    but yeah, every once in awhile he says something worth it.

    i'd also read about what to me, was an astounding number of states having right to carry laws.
    and their crime stats didn't really change.

    just like if assisted suicide was aloowed, we probably would not see people killing themselves en masse.
  9. angelofdeath

    angelofdeath Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 4,375 Likes Received: 79
    i think this is relevant.

    Federal Courts and the Growth of Government Power

    by Ron Paul

    The Senate hearings regarding the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court demonstrated that few in Washington view the Constitution as our founders did. The Constitution first and foremost is a document that limits the power of the federal government. It prevents the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court from doing all kinds of things. But judging by last week's hearings, the Constitution is an enabling document, one that authorizes the federal government to involve itself in nearly every aspect of our lives.

    The only controversy, it seems, is whether the current nominee will favor the power of one branch over another, or the preferences of one political party over another. Last week's hearings were purely political, because the role of Supreme Court justices has become increasingly political.

    Nearly all of the Senators, witnesses, and Judge Alito himself spoke repeatedly about the importance of respecting Supreme Court precedents. The clear implication is that we must equate Supreme Court decisions with the text of the Constitution itself, giving them equal legal weight. But what if some precedents are bad? Should the American people be forced to live with unpopular judicial "laws" forever? The Constitution itself can be amended; are we to accept that Supreme Court rulings are written in stone?

    Also troubling was the apparent consensus among both the Senators and Judge Alito that Congress has no authority to limit federal court jurisdiction by forbidding it to hear certain types of cases. This is completely false: Article III Section 2 of the Constitution plainly grants Congress the authority to limit federal court jurisdiction in many kinds of cases. It is perfectly constitutional for Congress to pass court-stripping legislation to reflect public sentiment against an overreaching Supreme Court.

    We're being told two very troubling things:

    First, Supreme Court decisions are the absolute law of the land, equal in weight to the text of the Constitution itself. Supreme Court precedents should never be changed, and all nominees to the Court must accept them as settled law or be disqualified.

    Second, if the American people don't like any of the "laws" created by the Supreme Court, they have no choice but to live with them unless by some miracle the Court later overturns itself. The people have no recourse through Congress to address unpopular Court decisions.

    The ramifications of these assertions are very serious. They mean the Supreme Court not only can invalidate the actions of Congress or the President, but also craft de facto laws that cannot be undone by the people's elected legislators! This is wildly beyond the role of the federal judiciary as envisioned by the founders. They certainly never intended to create an unelected, lifetime-tenured, superlegislature.

    Our federal courts, like the rest of our federal government, have become far too powerful. When federal judges impose their preferred policies on the American people, the ability of average citizens to influence the laws under which they must live diminishes. This is why every American should read or reread the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Only when we understand the proper role of the judiciary in our federal system will we stop viewing judges as purveyors of social, political, and economic rules for our nation.

    January 20, 2006
  10. spectr

    spectr Guest

    I think the right to die is one of the most basic freedoms we should have i think the law should be broadend so not only terminal ill people can use it everyone should be able to

    KING BLING Guest

    Hopefully our president will enjoy this freedom personally...

    KING BLING Guest

    The idea is that states can not remove the right to self direction. To say that the constitution does not define a persons right to undergo a medical procedure, be in abortion, death, or drugs even if it is not specifically mentioned is like saying because Pepsi is not mentioned in the constitution a state has the right to ban its products solely on the basis of popular concensus.

    I truly repsect the consitutionalist/libertairian point of view on things, but "states" are part of a bigger whole. Everytime a state takes tax money for its highways, corn, or whatever under the guise that it has some relevance to interstate commerce, they accept that regulation exceeds enforcing fair play and taxation and they agree to the idea that one states survival (its people being the survivors) is important to anothers...the people being protected are not always the majority in a given state
  13. angelofdeath

    angelofdeath Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 4,375 Likes Received: 79
    again. we are 50 little countries tied together to form a union, under the constitution. if abortion is to be legal nationwide, fine. i'll see you at the amending process. (it will NEVER pass) the federal government should not even be talking about abortion. the constitution does not grant rights. it simply was created to protect them. not infringe on them. under the 9th and 10th amendments, the issue would be put into the state governments. until the constitution says "a woman shall have the right to abort her child..." then i will always believe it to be a state issue and that Roe was wrongly decided. i personally have faith in the states. i dont believe in the feds.