POLICY/POLITICS/QUALITY: Supreme Court upholds Oregon physicians and patients rights

Some slightly good news in the DEA and DOJ’s continued campaign to get into the practice of medicine in the guise of preventing “drug trafficking”, or more accurately imposing the extreme morals of the religious right on the rest of us.

The Supreme Court upheld Oregon’s one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday upheld Oregon’s one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die. Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said that federal authority to regulate doctors does not override the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting for the first time.

Of course the dissenters were Scalia and Thomas, both unreconstituted theocratic & social fascists conservatives. They were predictably joined by new Chief Justice Roberts. It’s no secret that Alito would have voted with them had he been confirmed. And this is for something the voters of Oregon have passed twice by large majorities. In other words the will of the voters is irrelevant in cases where social conservatives want to restrict freedom, including the freedom of physicians to practice in the way they like. And after Alito is confirmed, this will happen more and more…watch out Roe vs Wade.

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4 replies »

  1. Tom, Congress did not define “legitimate medical purposes” and left much of that structure to the states. Congress has been given the opportunity to pass a law outlawing assisted suicide. The have been lobbied hard by organizations to pass such a law. The have not. Ashcroft took it upon himself with no medical training and no consultation to define it and exclude the parameters of the Oregon law. To suggest that doctors and ethicists involved in end-of-life care are 100% behind Ashcroft’s view of the world (as Scalia does) is simply false. Ashcroft (and Scalia) want to impose their view of the world on others (who voted for the law) and do that without regard to the actual laws in place. That is fascisim.

  2. Tom, given that this case was brought by Ashcroft who has spent most of his political career and all of his time at the DOJ interfering in people’s rights to excercise their freedom of all types because of his own religious/social conservative agenda, I have no trouble at all accusing him of fascism. Fascism is the imposed values of one group over another with no respect for legality or individual wishes. It is the political opposite of liberalism.
    If I decide that ending my life quietly and pain-free is what I want, and my doctors judge me competent and will help me, what business is that of the government? And why is that not legitimate medical practice? The same for my use of narcotis, marijuana or anything else so long as I am not interfering in any one else’s safety.
    I am not relieving Ashcroft and his buddies Scalia and Thomas of their right to die a prolonged horrible death. I just don’t see why they should feel able to impose that on me.
    And if you want to start thinking about where the name-calling really starts on this issue, think about the use of the term Nazi, which is very different to that of fascist, and how that gets used and by whom.

  3. Sorry, Tom, but you are siding with authority over freedom. The doctor and the patient have the freedom to decide these things privately in careful consideration with the relevant stakeholders, and have been doing so even before voters in Oregon decided to make sure the act of assisting a humane death is not criminalized. Ask a doctor what it means to “ease’em over the edge,” and how it went on before Kevorkian came along and put it on the op-ed pages.
    The SCOTUS majority in this decision, if not in so many words, then certainly in its action, said government should butt out. Good stuff, that.

  4. Hmmmm. So you disagree with Justice Scalia when he says “If the term ‘legitimate medical purpose’ has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death.”
    What meanings do you give the words “legitimate” and “medical”? More to the point, what meanings to you think CONGRESS gives them? How is it fascististic for a federal judge to honor the intent of the federal legislature? How by your own lights are you not a fascist when you want to restrict the freedom of physicians to practice in the way they like? What is extreme about holding suicide or euthanasia illegal? And finally, who says a majority is necessarily correct about moral issues, or that “freedom” is the highest value?
    I hope you do not start calling me names.

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