Assisted-suicide law gets key victory

Court sidesteps constitutionality question
A recent Supreme Court decision that upholds Oregon’s landmark law permitting doctor-assisted suicides does not end the nationwide ethical and legal debate on such suicides.

The Court did not deal with the constitutionality of the state law. But in a 6-3 decision announced January 17, the justices sided with the state and against the authority of the U.S. attorney general, who had sought to prevent doctors from prescribing life-ending drugs for terminally ill patients.

The attorney general “is not authorized to make a rule declaring illegitimate a medical standard for care and treatment of patients that is specifically authorized under state law,” wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy for the majority in the case.


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