Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And one more thing...

For those who have put forth the well-meaning but wildly wrong-headed hypothesis that the Dems aren't going to filibuster Alito because they see no net change on the court with President Abrasion's appointments, I read the news today, oh boy:

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Assisted Suicide Law

The Supreme Court upheld Oregon's assisted-suicide law today, declaring that the Bush administration had exceeded its authority in trying to undo the statute by punishing doctors who help people end their lives.

In a 6-to-3 decision, which would apply to other states if their people chose to follow Oregon's lead, the court held that former Attorney General John Ashcroft went well beyond his authority and expertise when he ruled in 2001 that doctors would lose their federal prescription privileges if they prescribed lethal doses of medications for patients.

Today's ruling allows the state of Oregon to continue to follow the practice of the Netherlands, which in 2002 became the first country to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in limited circumstances. It could also portend agonizing debates elsewhere in the United States, as medicine advances and people continue to wrestle with questions of life and death.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority today, acknowledged that the long-running battle over the Oregon law is part of a "political and moral debate." But the issue for the court, he noted, was a more technical, down-to-earth one: Did the attorney general go beyond his powers under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970?

Clearly, he did, Justice Kennedy wrote, in an opinion joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The Controlled Substances Act "gives the attorney general limited powers, to be exercised in specific ways," the court ruled.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a sharp dissent, asserted that the attorney general did indeed have the authority to issue his 2001 ruling, regardless of the majority's reading of events. "If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death," Justice Scalia wrote.

Also dissenting were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas. Chief Justice Roberts, whose conservative judicial philosophy was widely discussed during his confirmation hearings last year, had indicated skepticism about the arguments advanced by the State of Oregon when the case was argued in October.

Yeah, that's Chief Justice John Fucking Roberts joining Fat Tony and Silent Clare at the end of the bench. You know, Roberts--the more moderate of Bush's appointees. Paying attention yet, DiFi?


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