The U.S. Supreme Court and Medical Ethics: From Contraception to Managed Health Care

The U.S. Supreme Court and Medical Ethics: From Contraception to Managed Health Care

The U.S. Supreme Court and Medical Ethics: From Contraception to Managed Health Care

The U.S. Supreme Court and Medical Ethics: From Contraception to Managed Health Care

Excerpt

Every Supreme Court case that involves a claim of individ
ual rights is brought by a real person, who has sought legal
redress for some kind of oppression. American constitution
al history is the history of real people with real grievances.
Judges
who are also real peopledo not always uphold
these claims, but their decisions affect many lives: first, of
the individuals who brought the case, and second, of those
whose rights are determined by the Court's ruling.

—Peter Irons, A People's History of the Supreme Court

When the concerns and dilemmas of medical ethics intersect with the standards and principles of constitutional law, the impact on Americans is often profound and long-lasting. Much of medical ethics is concerned with articulating and justifying values and rules that ground morally permissible medical practice and patient care. Much of constitutional law focuses on articulating and justifying standards of constitutional interpretation that in turn guide decisions by courts on the proper limits of federal and state power. In cases involving bioethics law the concepts and principles so common in medical ethics and the various methods of constitutional interpretation and application that are staples of constitutional adjudication come together in such a way as to be confusing for students of both bioethics and health law, medical professionals, and policy makers. This intersection of distinctive practices, languages, and concepts, often involving a collision of disciplines, occurs more often than one might think and directly impacts how patients and their families . . .

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