Thursday, October 06, 2005

Supreme Court Takes On Oregon Assisted Suicide Law

The Enemy Press AP wrote this silly headline: "High Court Clashes Over Assisted Suicide."

So it appears that the Justices were engaging in a free for all in the courtroom. Maybe Ginsburg faced off with O'Connor in a swordfight. Maces at ten paces for Scalia and Kennedy.

No, it's just the usual from the Enemy Press. The Court is considering the role of government in physician assisted suicide. The AP apparently doesn't like the fact that Chief Justice Roberts "stepped forward Wednesday as an aggressive defender of federal authority to block doctor-assisted suicide, as the Supreme Court clashed over an Oregon law that lets doctors help terminally ill patients end their lives." Clashed! Clashed they say! Was it anything of the sort? No, there is nothing in the story that implies any clashes between Justices. The implied clash is between what was supported before by the thuggish former Attorney General Janet "Waco" Reno and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Here we see more bias from the Enemy Press. "The new case is a turf battle of sorts, started by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a favorite among the president's conservative religious supporters. (And what does that have to do with anything? Oh, wait, Christians and Bush bad, blow jobs and forcing Cubans back to Castro's hellhole, good) Hastening someone's death is an improper use of medication and violates federal drug laws, Ashcroft reasoned in 2001, an opposite conclusion from the one reached by Attorney General Janet Reno in the Clinton administration." And? And? Perhaps Reno's conclusion was incorrect? Well, it can't be, can it? She was Clinton's Attorney General.

AP also puts in this little nugget from a court watcher, "...Van Aelstyn says John Ashcroft failed to address public interest before imposing his 2001 directive to arrest doctors who assist patients in the process of dying." Yup, just imposed his ideas on everyone else without so much as a by your leave. What a dirty trick, making people not kill someone!

Apparently the AP wants physician assisted suicide to pass as seen by the presentations of Justice Ginsburg and Souter as soft hearted heroes who only want to ease the pain of cancer afflicted citizens. "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has had colon cancer, talked about medicines that make a sick person's final moments more comfortable. Justice David Souter, in an emotional moment, said that it's one thing for the government to ban date rape drugs and harmful products but 'that seems to me worlds away from what we're talking about here.'" Let's see, forbid to rape good, forbid to kill, bad.

Now here's the other side. "Roberts and Antonin Scalia appeared skeptical of Oregon's claims that states have the sole authority to regulate the practice of medicine. Roberts, 50, was presiding over his first major oral argument and thrust himself (ooh, he thrust himself) in the middle of the debate. Over and over he raised concerns that states could undermine federal regulation of addictive drugs. Before Oregon Senior Assistant Attorney General Robert Atkinson could finish his first sentence Roberts interrupted with the first of many questions. 'Doesn't that undermine and make enforcement impossible?' he asked Atkinson. (The nerve of Roberts! Asking questions! And interrupting, interrupting!) He posed just two questions of the Bush administration lawyer. (That settles it, he's bought and paid for by President Bush, he's the president's man...oh, yeah.) At one point, a flustered Atkinson said, 'I'm starting to be backed into a corner.'" (And I'm going to cry, sniff.) Just gotta bring out the "I'm threatened by conservative speech" excuse. Perhaps you were just unprepared.

There is one important bit of information that the Enemy Press does include in the story. It appears that "It was a wrenching debate for a court touched personally by illness. Roberts replaced William H. Rehnquist, who died a month ago after battling cancer for nearly a year. Three justices have had cancer and a fourth has a spouse who counsels children with untreatable cancer.... The two justices who seemed most conflicted were Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer. Breyer's wife counsels young cancer patients. Besides Ginsburg, the justices who have had cancer are O'Connor and John Paul Stevens." Should any of these then, be deciding this case? It appears that all of these justices listed has a bias one way or the other. Can we get a fair ruling? Justices have recused themselves for lesser things than this. For such a charged question, it seems that all the Justices listed above must recuse themselves. We must rule according to the Constitution, not our feelings and personal situation. It's clear this must be done, no matter how much it hurts the Enemy Press and the supporters of each side.

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