Tuesday, January 17, 2006

US euthanasia

The US Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Gonzales v Oregon (briefs here), although the opinion is not yet on the SCOTUS website.

Report here.

Basically, the State of Oregon has a law allowing terminally ill patients to be prescribed with lethal doses of drugs, provided a the doctor and patient have jumped through a list of hoops.

The Bush administration wanted to challenge this law and based its challenge upon whether the State of Oregon had breached the Controlled Substances Act, which regulates the provision of restricted drugs by anybody, but includes doctors.

I will read the opinion with interest, but imagine that the State law was held not inconsistent with the federal Act.

I note that even though O'Connor voted with the majority, it was still a 6-3 opinion. Once O'Connor is replaced, probably by the much more conservative Alito, it will be interesting to see whether the Court does actually shift position on cases such as this.

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