Ruling: Assisted Suicide Stands
Byline: TIM CHRISTIE The Register-Guard
Supporters of Oregon's doctor-assisted suicide law said they could not have asked for a better ruling than the one delivered Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones.
In a strongly worded decision, Jones found that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft overstepped his authority when he tried last year to stifle Oregon's controversial, ground-breaking law that permits doctors to help terminally ill patients kill themselves.
The judge also ordered the federal government not to interfere with the Oregon law while the case is on appeal.
"Clearly Judge Jones' decision verifies the position of Oregon voters and it also verifies Oregon's right to establish its own medical practices," said Kevin Neely, spokesman for Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, who sued to block Ashcroft's directive.
Ashcroft issued his directive Nov. 6, finding that doctor-assisted suicide was not "a legitimate medical purpose" under federal drug laws. He authorized federal drug agents to investigate and revoke the federal drug licenses of doctors who participate in the law.
Two days later, Myers, joined by doctors and dying patients, sued Ashcroft and the federal government. Jones, appointed to the federal bench in 1990 by the first President Bush, granted a temporary injunction against Ashcroft two days later.
Jones' decision hinged on the Controlled Substances Act, a federal drug law that Ashcroft argued gave him authority to regulate Oregon's law. The judge looked at the plain language of the law, its legislative history and the case law. Nowhere did he find …
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Publication information: Article title: Ruling: Assisted Suicide Stands. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Register Guard (Eugene, OR). Publication date: April 18, 2002. Page number: A1. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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