Democrats & Liberals Archives

Compassion for the Dying

Certainly it is essential that Supreme Court justices know the law and the Constitution, but isn’t it just as essential that they be compassionate and knowledgeable about the human condition? With Samuel Alito’s confirmation all but finalized today, I have serious doubts about his qualifications in that regard. It’s been little over a week since the compassionate position won, albeit with legalistic reasoning, in overturning Ashcroft’s specious challenge to Oregon voters’ initiative-based law allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to their suffering terminally ill patients.

I wrote with some concern about this in October when Miers was Bush's nominee to replace O'Connor. As I hoped at that time, Kennedy sided with Oregon which eliminated any temptation to defer the decision until O'Connor's replacement, since a 6-3 decision would not be affected by a change of one justice.

It is a great relief that five justices who will remain on the court after O'Connor's retirement can find legal justification for Oregon's compassionate law, but it is a grave concern that recently installed Chief Justice Roberts did not, and that Alito probably would have sided with the minority.

Aside from my gross lack of legal qualifications, I could never be on the SCOTUS. I would always want to rule in favor of the most aggrieved party, precedent or Constitution be damned. I understand the importance of moving cautiously when precedent IS being set, but the Court does have an important function in setting boundaries based on common decency as well. I heard Breyer explain it very well one evening when describing what the job of the court really is. The legislative branch is charged with defining the particulars of law, and the Supreme Court must only set the parameters within which those laws should operate. If public opinion has overwhelmingly moved to find certain restrictions or lack thereof repugnant, then it is not outside the purview of the Court to limit what lawmakers can do, but they are still obliged to find some Constitutional basis for it.

Personally I find it repugnant that some folks believe that other suffering people should not be given a dignified manner of ending their own life - in ANY state. I may or may not be in the majority, but I'm certainly not in the overwhelming majority in that regard. The SCOTUS cannot properly mandate that states create Death with Dignity provisions, though the current court can see that Ashcroft was overreaching in claiming that the Oregon law violated Federal drug laws. If Congress writes a more specific law outlawing doctor assisted suicide, however, we may be forced to take a step back from compassion. I must remind myself though, that in the long arc we as a society have been moving toward compassion more than away from it, and with an engaged citizenry I must believe that such a general trend will continue in the long run.

Since I posted this at my own site a week ago, a couple of comments truly highlight the human face of this issue:

There was a time in my younger years when I would have objected strenuously and in horror to assisted death. Our duty was to preserve life, not take it. But years of experience caused me to change my mind. ... I have seen my patients welcome death, beg for death. I came to believe that they had a right to be spared the long, drawn out degrading and dehumanizing experience if they so desired. They had a right to die in dignity and peace. ... .One of the best experiences I had with a dying patient came about 3 A.M. when an elderly lady coded and the usual emergency protocol was instituted. We would get her pumped up, then she die off again, over and over. One last time we managed to get her vital signs reinstated and we stood around her, watching her intently in case she coded again. We assumed she was in a coma, unaware of her condition. To our vast astonishment she suddenly opened her eyes, glared at the young attending physician and sternly admonished him, "Young man, why don't you leave me alone and let me die in peace!!" She then coded again but that time we were unable to revive her. She had escaped our well meaning ministrations and died as she wished. To her, death came as a friend.
Indeed, perhaps it is their own fear of death which moves many who are opposed to allowing a compassionate exit for others. This really is not about "suicide" at all - as another commenter put it, it is simply about "medically appropriate, compassionate, and civilized terminal care management."

Posted by Walker Willingham at January 31, 2006 1:11 AM
Comments
Comment #118599

Attempted suicide is a crime and assisted suicide is murder.How can we jail or commit a person who tries to kill theirself and then allow someone else to do it for them and it’s ok.Both the mentally ill and terminally ill are in pain and to say it is compassion to kill them is ridiculous.A person dear to me had lukemia and she was too far gone to be cured and treatment would have only prolonged the agony,so she refused treatment and was given only what was needed to ease the pain and died without help from anyone but the LORD who she said she was ready for.It is not necessary to help someone die but they can and should ease their pain.Pain management is a science so let science and medicine work together to ease pain which is not at all wrong!

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 31, 2006 8:25 AM
Comment #118601

What I can’t figure out is exactly what message SCOTUS is sending by allowing assisted suicide but not homegrown medical marijuana: Sorry, pal, we know that you’re dying of cancer and a little weed would help you, but it is an evil substance. How about some potassium cyanide? That’ll end your suffering for good, with no disturbing “high”…

I am glossing over the legal issues here, but still, it makes you think.

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 31, 2006 8:28 AM
Comment #118604

For some reason the anti-choice (or pro-life, depending on your talking position) people consider abortion and assisted suicide as part of the same argument (with some omitting the death penalty.) I don’t get their perspective, and I don’t think I ever will. A dignified, safe ending to one’s life should be a person’s individual choice. (My neighbor committed suicide 4 days ago… and the bullet he shot himself with took out another neighbors from glass door. That’s not safe.)

As far as the court goes… I can see lots of sticky issues with regard to law. Once a case is introduced into the court system, one or both parties have lost something already. The courts should always be the last resort for making decisions. I don’t think we can look to the courts for positive results.

I think, in this issue, it seems clear that the decision of suicide (a graceful exit) should be only the choice of a person. However, I’m not sure how a court can easily rule on that because this also involves a medical professional who is breaking the oath. The ‘slippery slope’ argument would be that once you allow a doctor to assist in taking someone’s life, it opens up a lot of grey area.

Also, you have the issue of whether some terminally ill people are of sound mind, so it’s another grey to discuss.

This issue is a great example of opposite opinions that people have and the delicate balance of grey areas when working with the law. Personally, I wish we could allow people to be rational and work together to find good solutions to individual issues… but that will never happen. The courts have become the first resort for advocacy groups on both sides of any issue.

Posted by: tony at January 31, 2006 8:41 AM
Comment #118607

RDAVIDC

You seem so sure of your opinions… I’m wondering what you base them on. I understand the issue with your friend, but what about the issue of financially ruining an entire family for a dead-end purpose… and futile exercise of religious doctrine.

If you can’t see the difference between murder and assisted suicide, then obviously there’s no ground for discussion.

Posted by: tony at January 31, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #118615

Unless the long trend toward liberalization of thought and extension of rights to the many which has turned the civilized world away from justifications for slavery, and toward recognizing rights for women and the oppressed actually reverses, this is one area where I think the prevailing opinion in one hundred years will look back with horror on the day when we forced the terminally ill to endure great pain in the name of “morality”.

I would step even further and suggest that this option should be (and eventually will be) provided to anyone with a terminal OR painful illness. Why should the state control such a personal decision?

I remember a television profile of a young man who suffered from a constant agonizing headache for YEARS! The condition was not terminal, but the young man took his life in his twenties after having suffered from his mid-teens. In my own life I have known a woman who fought psychological demons for two decades when she decided she had fought enough. Who am I to judge such decisions?

These cases are substantively different that the tragic cases of teenage and other early life suicides where appropriate counseling could have redeemed lives which rashness otherwise cut short. I appreciate the earnest belief that redemption might always still be possible, but I condemn the insistence that there is no line beyond which we need to allow the choice to be in the hands of the individual whose life is at stake.

RDavidC, that doesn’t mean I condemn you personally - I am sure you are quite earnest - but if your insistence that individuals not be allowed peaceful reasoned options for controlling their own deaths is made public policy, that is monstrously cruel.

Death is a part of life, and compassion demands that we face it frankly and provide options for the dying.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at January 31, 2006 9:49 AM
Comment #118616

Tony,

In general, I agree with you approach on assisted suicide.

However, RDAVIDC’s approach of a preference for pain maangement over assisted suicide is not “a futile exercise of religious doctrine”. When I worked in hospital’s in the early 90’s, this was the expressed point of view of the American Medical Association, and the major nursing associations. They cited two major reasons for being against medically assisted suicide:

1) The first was the philosophical “slippery slope” argument that leads patients to make decisions (or worse yet have them made for them) that are based on reasons outside of the patients best interests. Chief among these potential other reasons cited were the desire not to leave their families with huge medical bills. The end of the slippery slope is that families are putting to death infirm but happy parents and grandparents because they can no longer afford to care for them.

2) The second was the scientific argument which is that pain managmenet was just becoming known as a true speciality in medical circles. Adequate pain management allows a patient to see past the immediacy of the situation in order to take a longer view and be able to make more “right-minded” choices. They painted this picture. Suppose you have a gravely ill middle-aged adult that has a cancer of some type. They are litterally screaming, just let me die, just let me die. Pain medicine is adminstered and the adult can see past the pain into the face of their loved ones and then make a more rational decision whether to fight the long, hard, unlikely battle to try to have some more time, or they can choose to give up. A cancer patient may have to make this choice two or three times. If it can’t be treated, sometimes they’ll fight for more time, but at some point they’ll reach the point where the fight takes so much out of them that they no longer can enjoy time with love one’s. However, without adequate pain management they have no choice to make the first time.

To try to brush the argument aside as a preference of the religious right seems a blatent attempt to shut down discussion on this issue. This issue is not a left - right issue. There are well-meaning, well-thinking individuals on both sides of the political and scientific spectrum that take both sides of this issue.

Posted by: Rob at January 31, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #118618

RD:

as of 1963, six states still considered attempted suicide a crime—North and South Dakota, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, and Oklahoma.

That means at least 44 don’t. Of course to many people who oppose personal suicide, it’s desirable to assist the involuntary suicide of capital offenders.

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #118624

“To try to brush the argument aside as a preference of the religious right seems a blatent attempt to shut down discussion on this issue. This issue is not a left - right issue. There are well-meaning, well-thinking individuals on both sides of the political and scientific spectrum that take both sides of this issue.”

I agree that there are many instances where people can make use of modern medicine to manage their pain. However, it comes down to a quality of life measurement. One person might find life worth while by simply living in bed and visiting with relatives. Others might my find that unbearable and a waste. It comes down to personal choice in the matter.

My ‘blanket’ statement above was aimed at the suggestion that assisted suicide is equal to premeditated murder. With that sort of framing, I don’t see any issue with my statement.

Posted by: tony at January 31, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #118637

I find it interesting that it is ok for us to say it is compationate to euthanize a animal to take it out of it’s misery but for humans who suffer the same pain or worse people can say it is murder. When your mom, dad , child etc.. is suffering unimaginable pain let’s see how many people will still be saying it’s murder.

Posted by: michele at January 31, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #118648

michele,

If you believe that people are no different then animals, then you are correct. But, it is a scary situation.

I happen to believe that human beings are much different then animals

Posted by: Cliff at January 31, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #118650

There is discrimination in this world,
and slavery, and slaughter, and starvation.
Governments repress their people.
Millions are trapped in poverty,
while the nation grows rich,
and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere.

These are differing evils,
but they are the common works of man.
They reflect the imperfection of human justice,
the inadequacy of human compassion,
our lack of sensibility
toward the suffering of our fellows.

But we can perhaps remember,
even if only for a time, that those who live with us
are our brothers, that they seek as we do,
nothing but the chance to live out our lives
in purpose and happiness,
winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely this bond of common faith,
this bond of common goals,
can begin to teach us something.
Surely we can learn at least,
to look at those around us as fellow men.
And surely we can begin to work a little harder
to bind up the wounds among us, and to become,
in our own hearts, brothers and countrymen once again.

The answer is to rely on youth,
not a time of life, but a state of mind,
a temper of the will, a quality of imagination,
a predominance of courage over timidity,
of the appetite for adventure, over the love of ease.

The cruelties and obstacles
of this swiftly changing planet,
will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans;
they cannot be moved by those
who cling to a present that is already dying,
who prefer the illusion of security,
to the excitement and danger
that come with even the most peaceful progress.

It is a revolutionary world which we live in,
and this generation at home and around the world,
has had thrust upon it, a greater burden
of responsibility than any generation
that has ever lived.

Some believe there is nothing one man,
or one woman, can do against the enormous array
of the world’s ills.
Yet many of the world’s great movements of thought
and action have flowed from the work of a single man.

A young monk began the Protestant Reformation.
A young general extended an empire
from Macedonia to the borders of the earth.
A young woman reclaimed the territory of France,
and it was a young Italian explorer
who discovered the new world,
and the 32-year old Thomas Jefferson,
who explained that “All Men Are, Created Equal.”

These people moved the world, and so can we all.
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself,
but each of us can work to change
a small portion of events,
and in the total of all those acts, will be written,
the history of this generation.

Each time someone stands for an ideal,
or acts to improve the lot of others,
or strikes out against an injustice,
s/he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
And crossing each other,
from a million different centers of energy and daring,
those ripples build a current
that can sweep down the mightiest walls
of oppression and resistance.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval
of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues,
the wrath of their society.
Moral courage is a rarer commodity
than bravery in battle, or great intelligence.
Yet, it is the one essential, vital quality,
for those who seek to change the world,
that yields most painfully to change.

And I believe that in this generation,
those with the courage to enter this moral conflict,
will find themselves with companions
in every corner of the globe.

For the fortunate among us,
there is the temptation to follow
the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition
and financial success, so grandly spread before those
who enjoy the privilege of education.
But that is not the road history
has marked out for us.

Like it or not,
we live in times of danger and uncertainty.
But they are also more open
to the creative energy of man
than at any other time in history.
All of us will ultimately be judged,
and as the years pass, we will surely judge ourselves,
on the effort we have contributed to building
a new world society, and the extent to which
our ideals and goals have shaped that event.

Our future may lie beyond our vision,
but it is not completely beyond our control.
It is the shaping impulse of America that,
neither faith, nor nature,
nor the irresistable tides of history,
but the works of our own hands,
matched to reason and principle,
will determine our destiny.

— Robert F. Kennedy

In not filibustering a man like Alito for the Supreme Court, a large number of Democratic Senators have just shown that they have no moral courage, and that they prefer to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success. Yet, finding our moral courage and demanding it from our leaders is something that I think Liberals thinkers desperately need to do, as is turning our backs on those leaders who would follow those easy and familiar paths. Both are obviously of urgent necessity, and these are things that I feel should be done by all of us, collectively. At this point, I’m very skeptical over whether either will ever happen, but I firmly believe that the ideas outlined in the speech above are true and factual. Indeed, I think they apply even more closely to our current situtation, than they did to those former times.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 31, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #118656

“A lot of people talk about the weather, but in Oregon, we’ve done something about it- legalize suicide.”

Of one thing I am sure- I don’t want the government or strangers interfering and insinuating themselves into my most personal moments. And there is no more intensely personal time than the death of a family member, or one’s own death.

Have an opinion on the matter? That’s great. Impose that opinion on me and my family? Get lost.

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #118667

Adrienne, (great speech, brings me back to younger and more innocent days.)

Until yesterday I would have agreed without hesitation that this was the line to be drawn.
On Sunday, I would have said that the #1 threat to America was the religious right and their overrepresentation within the GOP; as in a parliamentary coalition allows fringe minorities to have a say in policy.
Yesterday, I moved the Federalist Society to the #1 Wanted position for Anti-American behavior. Their desire to move the country back into 1700’s way of thought, their secretive cohesiveness, and their position of power all conspire to make them the most effective enemy of our freedoms. #2 is still the Dobson gang.

But, why do we want the Alito confirmation to be the “line”. I’m comparing this situation to that of Hamas’. Hamas is a group of murderous terrorist thugs whose leaders hid and slithered in darkness, afraid of the light which would expose them to IDF missles. Now what will they do? Lead from a cave? Send a missle into Israel and get their head shot off the next speech? They will be in the light and will be held accountable to international standards. They are under the pressure now, rather than being free of accountability.

Well, the Federalists are now out of the cave. Alito will issue an opinion that will expose him (them) for what he (they) are. That will be our chance to get the swing votes and take back the high ground.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #118671

Me thinks Robert F. Kennedy would be a Republican today…

Posted by: philos at January 31, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #118674

philos,

mE thinks not a chance in hell

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #118675

Phx8,
I agree whole heartedly. Personally I am very much against abortion, However I do not believe that anyone has the right to force that decision. It is one thing to have and hold an opinion be it based on your religion or personal convictions. It is entirely another to look down on others for having a different opinion while justifying in your mind that you have the right to impose your will on them. People have the right to make up their own minds.

Posted by: Vex at January 31, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #118677

Read it again…

Posted by: philos at January 31, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #118680

philos,

It may be that you want the GOP to represent those values, but they do not.

Perhaps you are a Democrat?

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #118684

Dave, your comparison of Alito and the courts to Hamas is just so ridiculous that it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

I would always want to rule in favor of the most aggrieved party, precedent or Constitution be damned.

That’s a pretty troubling admission, considering that precedent, the Consitution and the rule of law are there to determine who the aggrieved party actually is.

I tend to agree that there should be some compassionate means of ending life provided to terminally ill patients, but to just say we’re being “compassionate” and not go about providing such measures with EXTREME caution is a very dangerous idea.

Just consider the myriad ways in which measures could be abused.

What position does it put doctors and insurance companies in? Should insurance companies pay for euthanasia? If so, might they prefer to do so rather than pay for expensive surgeries and potentially life-saving treatments? What subtle pressures might they exert on doctors and families to make them choose death over costly treaments?

And what about family members who are saddled with the expense and incovenience of caring for dying relatives? Is it inconcievable that some of them wouldn’t pressure their dying relatives to spare them so much ongoing inconvinience and expense?

And even if such a thing would never occur to the relatives (as I’m sure it would’t in 99% of cases) wouldn’t the suffering patient themselves be put in a terrible position, knowing that they have the option available to them to spare those around them so much trouble? Might some who actually want to live feel pressure to choose death?

I think that such a choice should be available, but only the very strictest guidelines. There should be extensive councelling, a very long waiting period in which to change your mind, and multiple levels of review by multiple panels of health care proffessionals who have absolutely no contact—financial or personal—with the patient, the patient’s doctors, family members or insurers.

Posted by: sanger at January 31, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #118685

I’ve been flipping through the US Constitution a bit and have NOT found the section that mentions that justices are suppose to be compassionate and take into account the citizen’s needs, I was under the impression that they were suppose to objectively evaluate a law’s constitutionality without external bias.

Can you show me the section of the US Constitution that I missed? And when the definition of a US Supreme Court Justice changed from ‘objective’ justice to ‘compassionate’ justice?

Funny me, I thought that the compassion was suppose to come from those who wrote the laws, not those who interpreted their constitutionality. I guess that does explain how the country has gone so astray from being anything like the constitution dictates, since many feel we can just ignore it for ‘the greater good’ (whoever decides what that is).

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #118686

Dave

LOL

Posted by: philos at January 31, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #118689

sanger,

Please read more carefully next time. What I said was:

comparing this situation to that of Hamas’. … the Federalists are now out of the cave.

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #118690

Rhinehold,
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.”

Perhaps we could simply program a computer to render constitutional judgments? Why not? Of course, you know the reason. A judge needs judgment; an ability to interpret, and imbue words with their human meanings & values, most importantly the qualities of mercy and compassion.

Great phrase, though. “Objectively interpret.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #118693

Philos,

I don’t get your point. While I admit it’s debatable whether or not the speech embodies democratic values, it most definetly does not embody republican values at all. I can’t see how anyone could think so.

Posted by: chantico at January 31, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #118696

“Me thinks Robert F. Kennedy would be a Republican today…”

Never. RFK was always a progressive, not a radical conservative. And he hated “obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans”.
Those things are what the GOP stands for today, only now much of the dogma is even more obsolete (Fundamentalist Evangelicalism) and the slogans even more worn out (Trickle Down Economy, War on Terror, Contract with America, Securing America, Compassionate Conservatism, Tax, Tort, Social Security: Reform, Ownership Society, Family Values, Culture of Life, No Child Left Behind, Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, Mushroom Clouds, WMD, Dead or Alive, Freedom is on the March, etc., etc., you know, all those empty catchphrases).

Posted by: Adrienne at January 31, 2006 3:20 PM
Comment #118707

Adrienne -

you forgot ‘supporting our troops’ - ‘evil doers’ - ‘freedom haters’

Posted by: tony at January 31, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #118710

I am an oregonian and we voted twice to affirm the death with dignity act. For a single person to ignore and disregard the citizens of oregon based on his personal belief that is wrong. I am very happy that the supreme court agreed with oregon law. No matter what anyones personal opinion is the state of oregon voted twice to pass and uphold this law.

Since this law was enacted in 1997 only 208 people have applied to die with dignity.
I know people who have had terminal cancer who have since died naturally but agreed with an individuals right to choose assisted suicide in a case by case basis and also benifitted greatly from using medical marijuana. I do not believe it is my place to decide someone elses fate who is in extreme pain and suffering. they have a right to a peacefully humaine death if that is their wish.

As for medical marijuana the state of oregon has also passed that law and still allows it. I am dumbfounded that the supreme court could side with the goverment in US Vs Raich but uphold state law regarding death with dignity because in my opinion they go hand in hand. I do understand how the two different rulings were made by the Supreme court because they dealt with two completely different areas of law.

Posted by: sara at January 31, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #118711

Sanger,

here is the link for the specifics of the law

http://oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/faqs.shtml#whocan

A: The law states that, in order to participate, a patient must be: 1) 18 years of age or older, 2) a resident of Oregon, 3) capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself, and 4) diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six (6) months. It is up to the attending physician to determine whether these criteria have been met.

A: The patient must meet certain criteria to be able to request to participate in physician-assisted suicide. Then, the following steps must be fulfilled: 1) the patient must make two oral requests to the attending physician, separated by at least 15 days; 2) the patient must provide a written request to the attending physician, signed in the presence of two witnesses, AT LEAST ONE OF WHOM IS NOT RELATED TO THE PATIENT; 3) the attending physician and a consulting physician must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis; 4) the attending physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself; 5) if either physician believes the patient’s judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder (such as depression), the patient must be referred for a psychological examination; 6) the attending physician must inform the patient of feasible alternatives to assisted suicide including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control; 7) the attending physician must request, but may not require, the patient to notify their next-of-kin of the prescription request. A patient can rescind a request at any time and in any manner. The attending physician will also offer the patient an opportunity to rescind his/her request at the end of the 15-day waiting period following the initial request to participate.


The law makes every attempt to ensure that patients who engage in physician-assisted suicide are doing so voluntarily, fully informed, and with the ability to make rational health care decisions for themselves.

Posted by: sara at January 31, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #118714

tony, I knew I was forgetting plenty, but those are good ones.
sara’s post also reminded me of “states rights”. Clearly the radical right who now has entire control of our government hates the idea, even though in the past it was quite the favorite phrase of the Republican’s.
They’re going to hate it even more when this new Supreme Court line-up strikes down Roe vs. Wade and abortion becomes a states rights issue, much like doctor assisted suicide and medical marijuana has in recent years.

PS to sara, nicely done.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 31, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #118716

Adrienne,

The left is going to hate having anything decided by states as well, can you imagine implementing large social programs on a state by state basis? Talk about unfair!

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #118718

Rhinehold:
“The left is going to hate having anything decided by states as well, can you imagine implementing large social programs on a state by state basis? Talk about unfair!”

Unfair, sure. But better to have some social programs than none at all, which is what these Far Right “Christian’s” are aiming for.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 31, 2006 4:30 PM
Comment #118726

Personally - I like the faith-based initiatives. Just have faith you will be able to feed your family. Just have faith you’ll find the money before the power is cut off. Just have faith that that new job is just around the corner (in a differenct State… just have faith that you;ll find a way to move there.) Just have faith that you find some way to buy your prescriptions ans well as heat this winter.

Just have faith that the faith-based program will be funded.

Posted by: tony at January 31, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #118727

Adrienne,

thank you this is my first time posting on this site. I believe this law attempts to cover all the basis to die with dignity with safeguards in place. Next year this law will have a 10 year anniv. and even though only 208 people have requested a lethal dosage of medicine that doesn’t mean they even decided to take it.

I don’t think people are really understanding that john ashcoft tried to overturn it without even talking to the state of oregon or examining the death w/ dignity act he just decided he didn’t like it and tried to strike it down. Unfortunately for him the supreme court recognized that and ruled against the him and the government. I actually was worried the supreme would side with ashcroft after the raich ruling but they used a different legal approach siding with oregon.

Posted by: sara at January 31, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #118728

State by state welfare will start a new civil war.

Imagine the migration that starts when no-welfare-state indigents and unemployed start moving to more-welfare-states with jobs!

Imagine when all the no-abortion state’s daughters start going to abortion states for their procedures while the indigent teens start dying from infections and exsanguination!

Imagine what will happen once graduates from faith based science programs start getting rejected at Ivy league colleges for their ignorance of evolution!

What a grand time will be had by all. What were those signs posted or held up during the dustbowl migrations?

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #118729

State by state welfare will start a new civil war.

Imagine the migration that starts when no-welfare-state indigents and unemployed start moving to more-welfare-states with jobs!

Imagine when all the no-abortion state’s daughters start going to abortion states for their procedures while the indigent teens start dying from infections and exsanguination!

Imagine what will happen once graduates from faith based science programs start getting rejected at Ivy league colleges for their ignorance of evolution!

What a grand time will be had by all. What were those signs posted or held up during the dustbowl migrations?

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #118732

Adrienne,

Thanks this is my first time posting on this site.

I think it’s interesting to note that john ashcroft decided on his own to try and overide the voters. he didn’t consult with the state of oregon or anyone else for that matter. The supreme court recognized that and basically put him in his place. We’ll see what happens next.
The legislature could still outlaw the act.

here’s some stats on Physician assisted suicide

http://oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/docs/year7.pdf

1997-2004
During the past seven years, the 208 patients who took lethal medications
differed in several ways from the 64,706 Oregonians dying from the same underlying
diseases. Rates of participation in PAS decreased with age, but were higher among
those who were divorced or never married, those with more years of formal education,
and those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, or malignant neoplasms

Physicians indicated that patient requests for lethal medications stemmed from
multiple concerns with nine in 10 patients having at least three concerns. The most
frequently mentioned end-of-life concerns during 2004 were: a decreasing ability to
participate in activities that made life enjoyable, loss of autonomy, and a loss of dignity

Posted by: sara at January 31, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #118747

Dave, we know that many things are bound to get a whole lot uglier now.

Sara, welcome to Watchblog!
You wrote:
“The supreme court recognized that and basically put him in his place. We’ll see what happens next.”

See comment above. :^/

Posted by: Adrienne at January 31, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #118766

While I agree it is an individual’s “right” (at least in Or.) to make the choice to end the suffering, it would be hard for me to make that choice.

While I agree it is an individual’s “RIGHT” to have an abortion, it would be an impossible for me to make since I am a male.

Therefore, I believe that it is NOBODY’S business what choices are made. For now it is the LAW and your opinions as to whether it is right or wrong needs to be taken up with the representives from the area where you live. Since I live in California, and the wise folks in Or. have twice chose to have such a law, it is not up to me to pass judgement on them. How often those who profess the teaching of Christ think they have the moral authority to impose their will on others. Yes, bitch and moan about the law, write your congressman, enjoy the idiot in the whitehouse, but keep your opinions off my body. That is why we are a nation of laws, so some fool with the “better idea” does not get to impose that idea on the rest of us. As I was told after Bush won, “The election is over, get over it.” Well get over it, the people of Oregon and the Supreme Court have spoken. Mike

Posted by: Mike at January 31, 2006 9:30 PM
Comment #118780

If the Republican Party is for smaller government, why does the Party insist on creating MORE laws that RESTRICT personal freedom?

I doubt that I will commit suicide because I believe that suicide is a sin. But I’m not legally opposed to it. My religious upbringing is very important to me, but I don’t feel the need to create laws so I can impose my religious beliefs on others through legislation and the courts.

Everyday, I pray to God to help these Make-It-Up-As-You-Go-MegaChurches and Jesus-Loves-Rolexes-and-Golf-Protestants to get out of the Republican Party. I know he hears my prayers. It will happen one day. They will see their errors.

Posted by: JW at January 31, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #118823

What happens to a doctor in Oregon that personally opposes assisting a patient in committing suicide? Can he refuse to help the patient kill themselves? I have heard of court cases involving abortion where a doctor was forced, by the courts, to perform a procedure (an abortion) he was personally opposed to, even though the patient could have gone to another doctor for treatment. Are doctors now going to find themselves in situations where, by law, they have to violate the oaths they took when they first became doctors? Some doctors seem happy to push that oath aside, as if it doesn’t matter. I’m not sure I want to go to a doctor that takes his oaths so lightly, but that’s another matter.

The example given in the article of a doctor “changing his mind” on assisted suicide doesn’t hold water for me. If the woman described in the article would have signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order then, when she first coded, she would not have been worked on and would have been allowed to die. Why was this not brought up to her as an option? The quoted doctor doesn’t say. The problem in this case may not be assisted suicide so much as in self-serving doctors and hospital staffers not enforcing a DNR order to ease there own consciences and egos (I’ve seen that happen as well).

The problem I see is not in allowing a patient to die, if that is their wish, the problem is in creating laws that makes a doctor become an accessory to their patient’s suicide. Allowing a patient to die, because they have consciously chosen it, is very different from forcing a doctor into helping a patient kill themselves.

Posted by: John at February 1, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #118854

dave

the states are laboratories of democracy, and should be. we have a federalist system for a reason - so that a small minority cannot seize control of the country and legislate (their take on) morality for the rest of us (for instance).

the idea is that when a state makes a radical change, it will either be successful - in which case other states will adopt it - or it won’t, in which case the citizens of said state have no one but themselves to blame. i’m sure you are familiar with this concept.

what we are currently seeing is a long trend towards a more unitary system, where the federal government has full authority to regulate everything. it works well when you agree with those in power, at least for you.

as you well know, our constitution provides the federal government the authority to handle certain situations between the states; i feel certain that mass-migrations would affect interstate commerce, thus falling under their authority.

other instances, however, would not - and should not. if people in a state wish to teach ID, and the students which migrate from this state have difficulties arising from that decision - they’ll know who to take the matter up with. education, after all, is not protected in the US constitution, but in the state constitutions. it seems that you would have us all spouting creationism rather than suffer a small cult to do so.

i think the issue of cross-state abortions is an equally fragile argument to champion. past experience has shown what deleletious effects illegalizing abortions would have. i believe that the reason you see so many pro-lifers is exactly because the line has been drawn where it has.

rather than ceding authority to the states to determine when an abortion is/is not acceptable, people are forced into two camps - all the time, or never. spreading out this decision across local government would disperse the radicals, and i think you would find that some form of abortion would remain legal in all fifty states. if not immediately, certainly in the long run.

one of the main issues here is that of whom is most suited to regulate and legislate for a community. those in a distant state, perhaps on the other side of the country - or those whom you grew up with, whom share your values and concerns?

it’s a matter of compromise, rather than winner- take-all cuz we-know-what’s-best-for-you-like-it-or-not. if you wish to have the right to decide such issues as education, abortion, drug laws, gay marriage, death penalty….. then you should be willing to allow others that same right. america is not supposed to be a tyranny of the majority (or minority, whichever the case may be).

in the end, the borders are open, if they pass a law with which you simply cannot live, vote with your feet - better than leaving the country, as is currently the only way to escape.

Posted by: Diogenes at February 1, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #118869

Diogenes:

if you wish to have the right to decide such issues as education, abortion, drug laws, gay marriage, death penalty….. then you should be willing to allow others that same right.

With abortion legal (actually, the right to privacy), no one is forced to have an abortion. It is a choice each individual can make for themselves. Making it illegal, no one has the choice. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 1, 2006 3:33 AM
Comment #118897

Have you heard the phrase “Justice is blind”, or do you not believe it. The court system is NOT supposed to be compassionate. The court weighs evidence and balances that evidence with the laws created by congress. If compassion are an issue, it should be with the congress and not the courts.

Personally, I have no problem with suicide weather it’s assisted or not, with a few exceptions like age and mental capacity. I have no problem with drugs, prostitution, gambling, or any other vice I can think of at the moment, but I wouldn’t fight for them on grounds of compassion. That is NOT a function of the courts.

Posted by: tomd at February 1, 2006 5:34 AM
Comment #118937

Hear, hear, Diogenes. I wish we could get more people thinking like this on both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: Rob at February 1, 2006 7:12 AM
Comment #119116

Diogenes,

Isn’t that from the Fedalist Society talking pages?
We are still a single nation and there are singular issues. Your argument would apply to slavery and a federal income tax as easily as any other. The problem with the religious right and the Federalists is that they force their own beliefs on others at the expense of individuals rights and “fairness”. Your examples are prime examples (need to go now, maybe more tonight…)

Posted by: Dave at February 1, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #119126

John,

: Patients who meet certain criteria can request a prescription for lethal medication from a licensed Oregon physician. The physician must be a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) licensed to practice medicine by the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon. The physician must also be willing to participate in physician-assisted suicide. Physicians are not required to provide prescriptions to patients. Physician participation in physician-assisted suicide is voluntary. Additionally, some health care systems (for example, a Catholic hospital or the Veterans Administration) have prohibitions against practicing physician-assisted suicide that physicians must abide by as terms of their employment.

Posted by: sara at February 1, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #119135

“Both the mentally ill and terminally ill are in pain and to say it is compassion to kill them is ridiculous.”

RDAVIDC - I am questioning where it is said that the mentally ill have a right to assisted suicide? I am a psychiatric nurse in the state of PA and no where in this country that I know of is this even a thought. The whole idea for the mentally ill is to keep them alive. People that have a suicidal ideation are questioned constantly if they have a plan or an intent to commit. Suicidal people are also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility (you’ll hear medical personnel call it a “302”). When someone is “302’d”, they are put on a national list and are never allowed to own any kind of gun again in their lives.

If you did mean someone who has mentally decompensated due to age, for example, dementia patients, that is different than someone who is considered mentally ill.

“What position does it put doctors and insurance companies in? Should insurance companies pay for euthanasia? If so, might they prefer to do so rather than pay for expensive surgeries and potentially life-saving treatments? What subtle pressures might they exert on doctors and families to make them choose death over costly treaments?”

Sanger - I don’t think it’s gonna get bad enough that insurance companies are put in this position because most pain controlling drugs can be used for euthanasia. For example, I think most people know that Morphine is a pain controlling medication. What people don’t know though, is that Morphine has a side effect of decreasing respirations in high doses. Consequently, when someone is in the end stages of a terminal disease, a Morphine drip is required. It puts a patient into a drug induced coma to control the pain and it also slows breathing.

We’ve all seen an I.V pole at the bedside of a hospital patient that a bag of liquid medication is attached to with a little roller at the bottom of the bag that controls the “drip rate” or how fast the medication is given. Do you realize to euthanize someone, it’s as simple as moving the roller to increase the drip rate? I think insurance companies are going to end up going the other way - MDs are going to have to document like crazy that a medication was not used for the purpose of euthanasia.

“I have heard of court cases involving abortion where a doctor was forced, by the courts, to perform a procedure (an abortion) he was personally opposed to, even though the patient could have gone to another doctor for treatment.”

John - not doubting you, but I have never heard of that in my life. MDs in PA ALWAYS have the right to refuse treatment for anything that they do not feel comfortable providing. As do pharmacists.

Personally, I find no problem with doctor assisted suicide if done properly (documentation, signed consents, etc.). Who am I to judge someone else’s suffering? I’ve seen plenty of it in my line of work and through my family members. One point I’d like to mention though is I don’t think enough people use the option of advanced directives or DNR. These can be expanded upon to say, for example, if I break my neck, I do not want any life extending activities, only pain control. When your name is on a piece of paper that you signed in a mentally competant state of mind, no one can refuse your wishes. If I have one wish from this blog, it’s that all of you would look into this legal document so your wishes will be taken seriously regardless of what your government says.

GO STEELERS!!!

Posted by: Lisa C. at February 1, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #119212

We are only as civilized as our ideology. Does anyone remember Soylent Green?? We are fortunate. We are participants of the information evolution. We are the pioneers of advanced technology as a society. Ponder the point… as advanced as we become technologically the opposite is occuring in our “psychological endurance”. In other words, our ability as a society to accept “time” as it is and allow the “moment” to exist. We are “pushing time”. We as a society are disevolving psychologically, unable to deal with life, being, as we are,not a button, not an “instantaneous” result, but a cycle. To play God and predetermine our end is foolish, foolish, and not listening to wisdom’s call. Life. Life. Breathing, being, feeling. . Hmmmmm. Consider we are becoming a society consumed, yes consumed (consuming ourselves?) with “time management”, multi-tasking, efficiency. In a computer flow-chart, what is the last task? Terminate program?
Are we the “program”. Open your eyes. Life , life being has health and sickness, this is part of the cycle. Let’s not predertermine for our children, and children’s children what is “acceptable life”. We are coreening to a path of self-destruction because we, as a society, are allowing technology to imprint on our psyches, instantaneousness. remember the old adage, All good things take time. Remember? We have a responsibility to our future generations to retain our compassion for one another….. by example……and sometimes we are ill and it isn’t pretty. This is being human. We must accept our flesh and at the same time honor our bodies, embracing our spirits, as the Lord’s temple. should we teach our children hey, it’s painful, it’s ugly, give up?? Civilized? Watch Soylent Green. Hmmmmm. Everything so asthectically “perfect”“”“”“”?????
Please elevate. Helping another Commit Suicide should never be accepted as norm. Wait til YOU ARE SICK……….would you? Embrace being. No matter how “ugly” it gets…..you are…right now. What will you do with it? Time, now, love.

Posted by: christine hankosky at February 1, 2006 6:07 PM
Comment #119238

“Isn’t that from the Fedalist Society talking pages?”

no, that is in fact the US constitution talking.

“Your argument would apply to slavery and a federal income tax as easily as any other.”

i’m sorry, that’s absurd. only the criminally insane wish to reinstitute slavery, and that is a violation of the constitution. federal income tax is widely recognized as necessary in operating the country these days. this argument is a strawman.

“We are still a single nation and there are singular issues.”

wait, why have states at all? let’s abolish all governments accept the fed, and then abolish all branches except for the executive - so we can more effectively address the singular issues of our single nation. (i know, ridiculous right?)

“The problem with the religious right and the Federalists is that they force their own beliefs on others at the expense of individuals rights and “fairness”. Your examples are prime examples”

the problem with the religious right and the federalists is that there are some wackos among them. were they allowed a bit more autonomy, the moderates among them would quickly disavow the radical proponents within their ranks.

for instance, i believe that 99% of americans support abortions in the case of rape or when the mothers *life* is at stake. however, given only the option of for or against, they naturally must side with those whom would kill the mother to save the child.

the problem for everyone is that those who traditionally supported states’ rights
gave up that effort when they gained control of the fed gov’t. now democrats get to see what it’s like to be force-fed someone else’s idea of morality.

honestly, how often do you hear anyone without a hood and 15 sheets behind them suggest that slavery was a good thing? (and they wear the hoods for a reason).

i do not doubt that there are flaws with a federalist system; however, it’s better than the alternative. and for the record, i don’t support disbanding the nation in favor of 50 sovereign country-states. still, the system of checks-and-balances wasn’t meant to apply solely to the branches within the national government (and if current politicians have their way, there will be no c-a-b’s at all).

Posted by: Diogenes at February 1, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #119279

Democrats love abortion simply because the vast democratic party has no Christian belief or any morals whatsoever. Call it a woman’s right to choose, it was still her choice to get pigged. It is still God’s child, not some woman’s (democrat woman’s) second stupid choice.

Posted by: William at February 1, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #119296
Democrats love abortion simply because the vast democratic party has no Christian belief or any morals whatsoever.

This is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.

William, consider yourself warned. I will block you from posting to this site if you cannot prove that you know how to debate intelligently without flame-baiting and name-calling.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at February 1, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #119332

diogenes,

We will have to discuss again, I will promise to be polite.

By referring to “It’s the constitution” I believe you are reffering to an interpretation of the constitution. I.e. that of the Federalists.

Second, I said the “argument” would apply to slavery, and it would (except that there is now an ammendment banning slavery) Otherwise, it would simply be a disagreement between different moral values.

I also said there were “singular issues” not that all issues were singular. Some fall under the national interest category some under the states rights.

And that is the crux. Federalists want to go back to the 1700’s and place nearly all decisions into states hands. Most other people do not agree with that, it was a long time ago and many ‘truths’ of that day no longer apply, and nor should they. Look at the civil rights movement, do you think Mississipi would have inter-racial schools or inter-racil marriage without federal intervention?

The difference is not that liberals want to force their morality onto others, it’s the exact oposite. The liberal position is that the gov’t should be the defender of individual choices and the protector of those without power from those in society that have.

Laws against gay marriage, against the right of control over ones body, against the right to privacy from unwarranted (unreasonble) search and seizure, against the environment, those are the enemies of freedom, the enemies of our future, and those are the morals of the new right. To me at least, it is not the better choice.

Posted by: Dave at February 1, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #119402

“Federalists want to go back to the 1700’s and place nearly all decisions into states hands. Most other people do not agree with that”

nor do i.

“By referring to “It’s the constitution” I believe you are reffering to an interpretation of the constitution. I.e. that of the Federalists.”

i most certainly am not. i am referring to the intent and interpretation of those who drafted the constitution (among other noteworthy documents) whose concern (arguably their most imperative) was distributing power in a way so as to prevent its coagulation - an intent which is sufficiently articulated so as to require very little analysis and interpretation, unless the aim in fact be that of reinterpretation.

the situation in which we now find ourselves has been facilitated in no small part by the subversion of this original intent, and the ever increasing consolidation of power - first by the federal government, and then by the executive branch thereof.

“We will have to discuss again, I will promise to be polite.”

do not mistake my arrogance for disrespect; it is not that i don’t value your opinion, merely that i hold my own in higher esteem, as undoubtedly you hold yours.

i look forward to the response.

Posted by: diogenes at February 2, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #119517

diogenes,

arrogance? Sorry, didn’t see it.

Anyway, I agree that a major concern of the founding fathers was the balance of power between the 3 federal branches and between the states and federal as a whole.
I also think that we live in a very different world than that of the 1700’s. Basically each state was an independent fifedom agreeing to a common defense, basic respect of the individual, and some “treaties” of trade. Also, in those days the big threats were native Indians resenting our encroachment on their lands, competing European powers using our lands for proxy wars, and pirates interfering with our trade. Basically, all interrelated.
We’re a bit more advanced now, the world is a whole lot smaller, and we are not a third rate hodgepodge of pioneers. We can’t afford to be so isolated again and to maintain our position, we need to lead as a beacon. And that means a real federal power against local prejudices.

Question: Diogenes was the first “citizen of the world” and an ascetic, why do you ascribe to a city-state mentality?

Posted by: Dave at February 2, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #119520

Nice article Walker.
I don’t understand why one would think they can dictate how another should live or end their life.

Dio and Dave
What would be wrong with giving the states their rights back?

Posted by: kctim at February 2, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #119537

kc,

Who said they’ve been taken away?

Posted by: Dave at February 2, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #119574

Dave
So you believe the states have the rights as granted to them by the Constitution?
Fair enough, I was just curious about your opinion on the matter.
Seems to me that the United StateS are now treated as one big state and that isnt working.
Cali, NY and Mass are totally different animals than Mo., MS and Colo.

Posted by: kctim at February 2, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #119583
Dave So you believe the states have the rights as granted to them by the Constitution?
Not absolutely, but mostly yes. 2006 is a very different time than 1787 and I believe the Constitution is a living document, respected but not intended to be interpreted today as it would have been when it was written.

As far as “US… not working,” it was doing a B+ job until this president decided he would be king and could completely ignore the constitution, justified by bulls#!t legal opinions from sycophantic minions.

Posted by: Dave at February 2, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #119614

“I believe the Constitution is a living document”

Gotcha. Nuff said.

“it was doing a B+ job until this president decided he would be king and could completely ignore the constitution, justified by bulls#!t legal opinions from sycophantic minions”

Yeah, I felt that way about clinton to, but what about Bush?
From your other posts, I would guess that you too, believe Bush is continuing with the same tactics.
Do you also believe, as I do, that it is only going to get worse?
Thanks for your input.

Posted by: kctim at February 2, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #119622
Do you also believe, as I do, that it is only going to get worse?

For the short term, yes. But I hope the Slime Boat Liars were the pinnacle of evil politics and the next presidential cycle won’t be as bad (since honest people truly were appalled by ‘04). But, this year will be nasty as the Repubs get slammed into the dirt for their (Karl and the Hammer esp.) slimy ways over the last 6 years.

P.S. Funny comment, but I don’t think Clinton ignored the Constitution to any significant degree, unlike BushII. (But that’s another thread)

And, I thank you for your opinions as well.

Posted by: Dave at February 2, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #119633

Any judge who can sanction the strip-search of a ten-year old child - with no provocation, deeply disturbs me. Those of you who cannot see the injustice in this ruling may require an analectomy.

Posted by: EOC at February 2, 2006 1:12 PM

Posted by: EOC at February 2, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #119689

I have very strong feelings about this subject. When I was 22, I became involved with a man who was amazing and turned my world upside down. 8 months after our first date, he had tongue cancer. A year later, neck cancer. Another year and it was lung cancer and things went downhill from there.

He was terrified about it getting “too bad” for him to be able to handle it. We talked to doctors about his fears and nothing would relieve him of his anxiety.

We read the book “Final Exit” and with a little help, he put together a little kit that lived on the bookshelf by his bed. It was a little shaving kit, but inside were the tools he needed to end it all when it was time. I had problems with it at first, but he really made it clear to me that it was important to him. To be able to see every day that he had the option to end it on his own terms was very empowering to him. I was devastated that I couldn’t be there when he did it to legally protect myself, but I understood why.

We had that little kit on the shelf for months. I saw it every morning and so did he. Sometimes I’d catch him looking inside of it, checking expiration dates or maybe just thinking.

He died in the hospital, without ever using his kit. But just having it there was such a huge comfort to him. He needed to know that he was in control of his own fate. It was amazing what it did for him psychologically. As long as he had an exit strategy, he could withstand anything.

The fact he never used the kit said a lot to me. I hate the argument against the law that it’s just a way for HMO’s to get rid of expensive patients. The reality is that anyone who has watched a loved one suffer at the end of life can understand the desire to have the power to end it when the suffering becomes unbearable. I hope that when my time comes I have similar options available to me. Anyone in Olympia listening?

Posted by: Sonya at February 2, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #120467
2006 is a very different time than 1787 and I believe the Constitution is a living document, respected but not intended to be interpreted today as it would have been when it was written.

As far as “US… not working,” it was doing a B+ job until this president decided he would be king and could completely ignore the constitution, justified by bulls#!t legal opinions from sycophantic minions.

Well, either the constitution means what it says or it doesn’t, methinks. If it’s a “living document” I can’t see much validity in your claim that Bush is ignoring the constitution since under that interpretation it can presumably be ignored or reinterpreted as needed. In fact, “bulls#!t legal opinions from sycophantic minions” are about all you’d need to justify most anything! If something fundamental to our country’s primary legal code needs to change or be expanded, the inadequate part of the constitution should be changed to reflect that, not simply novelly reinterpreted to suit. No doubt people would pay a lot more attention to what was going on in this country if they had such obvious evidence of the many policies which are currently being enacted improperly through judicial and executive channels based on calculated reinterpretations of the constitution.

Posted by: Amani at February 4, 2006 6:25 AM
Comment #121869

Amani,

Are you watching the hearings? Neither side is happy with Bushie these days.

Posted by: Dave at February 7, 2006 9:52 AM
Comment #122040

I’m aware. I was using the situation to prove a point. The living document mentality is problematic because it provides justification for the executive and the judiciary to recast the law; something we have seen the President, among others, make ample use of.

Posted by: Amani at February 7, 2006 5:33 PM
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