Advertise:   712.224.5420

Supreme Court upholds Oregon assisted suicide law

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law on Tuesday, rejecting the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help patients end their lives.

By a 6-3 vote, the justices said the Justice Department couldn't prevent doctors from prescribing lethal does of federally controlled drugs. The ruling didn't say whether Congress could or could not bar assisted suicide.

The majority was written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined the liberal-leaning justices and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring. Justice Antonin Scalia filed a dissent that was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas also wrote his own dissent.

Oregon is the only state with an assisted suicide law. State voters approved the Death With Dignity Act in 1994 and affirmed it in 1997.

Get the Story:
Justices Uphold Oregon Assisted-Suicide Law (The Washington Post 1/18)
Justices Reject U.S. Bid to Block Assisted Suicide (The New York Times 1/18)
Fraught Issue, but Narrow Ruling in Oregon Suicide Case (THe New York Times 1/18)

Decision in Gonzales v. Oregon:
Syllabus | Opinion [Kennedy] | Dissent [Scalia] | Dissent [Thomas]

Related Stories:
Supreme Court to review assisted suicide law (02/23)