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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Thursday, May 27, 2004


Right To Die In Oregon

The AP reports the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that;

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft overstepped his authority when he ordered Oregon doctors to ignore a state law that allowed them to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients who wished to die.

Ok, I’ll admit that I have a hard time with this issue. I think that it has huge potential for abuse as well has honest mistakes. We have to decide, as a society, whether or not someone who wants to die is, by definition, crazy. While there are a lot of issues, some of them are addressed by the fact that, under the Oregon law:

…terminally ill patients must get certification from two doctors stating they are of sound mind and have less than six months to live. A prescription for lethal drugs is written by the doctor and administered by the patients themselves.

This removes some of the potential for abuse and relieves doctors of being in the position of 'Causing Harm'. However, there is something I think everyone should recognize about how this court’s decision was made. This is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and they are famous for their nutjob rulings. Please note:

"The attorney general's unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician-assisted suicide and far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law," the court said in a 2-1 opinion. (emphasis added)

This is yet another 2-1 ruling by the 9th Circus Court. It seems to this non-law-professional-observer that the 9th Circuit makes it a habit to hand down a 3-judge ruling (often a split one, at that) only to be promptly overruled either by the next court or by a larger subset of the Court.

The unfortunate thing here, in my view, is that they might actually be right. It might just be that American's think the terminally ill should have a right to die, and that they should be allowed to get at least passive assistance from a physician. However, I just wish that these fine judges would take the time to get a few more of their colleagues together before handing down these controversial rulings. In the end, it would save us all a bunch of time, money and headaches.


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