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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A decision for a patient, his doctor, his family and a pompous judge on the other side of the country?

Posted by: Jambo / 4:43 PM

Fortunately there are still, for the time being at least, six justices willing to keep their noses out of people's personal lives. Roberts isn't one of them and neither is Scalia.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in a sharp dissent, asserted that the attorney general did indeed have the authority to issue his 2001 ruling, regardless of the majority's reading of events. "If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death," Justice Scalia wrote.

Justice Scalia, citing papers filed on behalf of the federal government, wrote that "virtually every medical authority from Hippocrates to the current American Medical Association confirms that assisting suicide has seldom or never been viewed as a form of 'prevention, cure, or alleviation of disease.' " The entire legitimacy of physician-assisted suicide "ultimately rests, not on 'science' or 'medicine,' but on a naked value judgment," he wrote.

That might very well be true. And it looks like Scalia is hoping to substitute his value judgment for that of Oregon voters and the Oregon medical establishment. I anxiously await the gnashing of teeth by right wing pundits over this blatant attempt at judicial activism.


What??!! Scalia is quoting a European source of law? Some Hippocrates? Sounds fishy to me.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:50 PM  

We finally made it through the decision. As always, we like to read Scalia's dissent first (he's the most entertaining one). At first glance we thought he made a pretty good argument: The Atty General was interpreting a federal drug law to say that controlled substances could only be perscribed for a legitimate medical purpose. We still think he has a valid point, but there is something to be said about the fact that he is, as you write, substituting his judgment in the place of others; something that he complains about in the first place.

In the long run, we do think the issue of pain and suffering and life-taking is a values issue. Controlling the pain is one thing; ending it by death is quite another. It's not much of a medical cure. We guess you could apply it across the board; finally, we have a cure for cancer: Death.

Overall, we think he gets a pass on the whole judgment question because he doesn't substitute anything proactive in place of what he attempts to strike down, and he keeps his sights focused on the federal statute.

As for the whole Hippocrates this means he agrees with Breyer's concept of Active Liberty, right?

Foreign law indeed. We guess you need some extra-constitutional heft when you are trying to explain (what he believes to be) common sense.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:04 AM  

Scalia even made a joke:

Since the Regulation does not run afowl (so to speak) of the Court's newly invented
prohibition of "parroting"; and since the Directive represents the agency's own
interpretation of that concededly valid regulation; the only question remaining is whether
that interpretation is "plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation"; otherwise,
it is "controlling."

By Blogger Hammer, at 8:06 AM  

We saw that bad joke. How dignified. Oh well, aside from the fact that we're personally against doctors ending lives (let someone else do it), we can't help but be proud to live in a country where you can't smoke weed to dull your pain, but you can kill yourself to perform the same function. God bless us all.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 AM  

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