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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Supreme Court to Hear Assisted Suicide Case Early in Session

Feast of St. Matthew

John Roberts could begin his tenure as Chief Justice by presiding over the controversial issue of assisted suicide when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments October 5 in a case where the Bush administration is defending its determination that federally controlled drugs should not be used in assisted suicides in Oregon. The Bush administration, supported by a filing from the USCCB, claims the Controlled Substances Act allows it to regulate drugs that shouldn't be used without a legitimate medical purposes, including all the drugs used in state-sanctioned assisted suicides in Oregon.

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that no right to assisted suicide exists, but states could decide whether to allow assisted suicides to take place. John Roberts, then in an interview with PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, appeared to support the decision

The right that was protected in the assisted-suicide case was the right of the people through their legislatures to articulate their own views on the policies that should apply in those cases of terminating life, and not to have the court interfering in those policy decisions. That's an important right.
We euthanasia opponents, who still may be concerned about how Mr. Roberts intends to apply his criteria for rejecting precedent, can probably breathe easier on this one.

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