Gut Rumbles
 

January 17, 2006

good decision

I am stunned by the audacity of it, but I believe that this is a good decision by the Supreme Court. We finally have SOMETHING out there that the Federal Government can't micro-manage, at least for now.

I've always found puzzling the logic that says government can sanction abortion, and even dictate that other people have to pay for it, while making suicide a crime. What do feminists say about abortion? "It's MY body, to do with as I please!" I agree, even though I think abortion used as common post-coital birth-control is wrong. It's a right of "privacy," according to abortion proponents.

Why not apply the same rules to suicide? It's MY body, to do with as I please, and if abortion is a privacy issue, the decision to kill myself surely ought to be.

Scalia said the court's ruling ``is perhaps driven by a feeling that the subject of assisted suicide is none of the federal government's business. It is easy to sympathize with that position.''

If "none of the federal government's business" is the driving force behind the decision, I'm damn sure in agreement with that kind of thinking. Of course, his keen observation didn't stop Scalia from dissenting. He didn't sympathize.

I do.


Comments

I think it was Heinlein who said something to the effect that the one truly inalienable human right is the right to determine the time & manner of one's own death.

Posted by: David on January 17, 2006 08:22 PM

Bring back Doctor Death.

Posted by: Catfish on January 17, 2006 08:38 PM

Audacious, to be sure. I don't much care for the ruling, but I do like the principles that were applied in coming to it.

How's that for ambivalence?

There are some good things that can be built on this decision, is what I'm saying.

Posted by: Desert Cat on January 18, 2006 12:12 AM

What freedom could be more fundimental than to decide if you want to live or die?

Posted by: Daniel Medley on January 18, 2006 05:12 AM

This is a good ruling for state's rights whether or not you agree on the assisted suicide issue. I know I said I would stop inflicting my politics here but I have to point out that Roberts dissented on this one too and he didn't have the balls to issue a written opinion. No doubt he doesn't want to draw attention to his allegiance to the White House BEFORE Alito gets confirmed. The White House was pushing for the law to be overturned in favor of federal control over state's rights and I assume you noticed that Ashcroft filed that suit on the basis of a drug law that has nothing to do with the practice of medicine.

These "strict constitutionalists" want to rewrite the freaking thing to give all the power to the feds. Just saying.

Posted by: Libby on January 18, 2006 07:51 AM

Libby, I'm in YOUR corner on this one. The case was one of those famous "end-around" tactics government uses to apply a law to a situation that has nothing to do with the original intent of the law. I'm delighted that the government lost this one.

Posted by: Acidman on January 18, 2006 11:03 AM

One of the judges who dissented said something about how this was going to create a situation where states would all be making their own laws in regards to this. I thought that was a GOOD thing.

Posted by: Daniel Medley on January 18, 2006 12:54 PM

I know I was just adding to the choir here but I think this is maybe the single most important issue the country should be concerned about and wanted to reinforce the point.

I'm sure it would come as no surprise that I'm blogging hard for a filibuster against Alito because I think he's the stealth candidate, and it's got nothing to do with Roe or gay marriage or prayer in schools. It's all about consolidating power in the executive branch and frankly that scares the jebesus out of me.

Posted by: Libby on January 18, 2006 01:15 PM

Justices aren't supposed to be driven by sympathy, but by the law and the Constitution.

Thomas' dissent seemed about right, to me (and I should note that I live in Oregon and I voted for the law he dissented from upholding, so it's not like I'm inclined to sympathise on grounds of personal interest.)

Reading his actual dissent (p59, ff) might help.

The summary is really in the last sentence: "The Court’s reliance upon the constitutional
principles that it rejected in Raich—albeit under the guise of statutory interpretation—is perplexing to say the least. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent." Thomas thinks the Court should make up its mind what the principles involved are, and stick by them. That's what I want a Justice to do, even if I wanted a different decision than his dissent.

My suggestion for a fix would have been, if he'd been in the majority, a change to the statute.

(In short, I don't know that his dissent was correct or not as a matter of statutory law, but it is perfectly honest and well-reasoned, and that's all I want from a Justice; not sympathy and not a concern for a pleasant outcome rather than what the law honestly looks like in the Justice's view. The Law is too important to be decided on the sympathy of the moment; if only because sympathy is unpredictable and variable, even more than wilful interpretation of the statutes.)

Libby: It is quite common to dissent without writing a separate, individual dissent. Why are "balls" required for that, exactly? It's not like Roberts was the sole dissenter, is it? And he did join to Scalia's dissent, no?

Maybe he... agreed with Scalia? Sounds to me more like you have a desire to attack the President (and Alito) via Roberts than any actual jurisprudential reasoning against Roberts.

I mean, do you have any evidence at all for this "stealth candidate" idea?

Posted by: Sigivald on January 18, 2006 02:00 PM

The summary is really in the last sentence: "The Court’s reliance upon the constitutional principles that it rejected in Raich—albeit under the guise of statutory interpretation—is perplexing to say the least. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent." Thomas thinks the Court should make up its mind what the principles involved are, and stick by them. That's what I want a Justice to do, even if I wanted a different decision than his dissent.

Precisely! That would be the issue I was thinking of. It's too bad for Raich that this case was heard *after* hers. It would have made a heckuva precedent for her to lean on.

Posted by: Desert Cat on January 18, 2006 03:14 PM

You know what Sig, I'm really sick of being called partisan and a Bush basher everytime White House loyalists have a need to distract from the real argument. There's no way I can prove it, but I was bashing the government for the last 35 years no matter who is in power.

You want evidence for my concerns, read my political blogs. I've been posting on this for a long time and I'm not going to take up Acidman's bandwidth proving my creds or debating my politics here.

For what's it's worth, I agree it's a confusing decision in light of Raich and also to some extent Kelo. Far as I can see, they finally got it right. Bully for the court. As far as the dissent, sure it's not uncommon to simply concur but neither is it unusual for more than one justice to issue a written opinion. I don't put myself forward as a SCOTUS expert, but it smells politically motivated to me.

That's just my opinion and so far, it's still a free enough country that I'm allowed to have a dissenting one myself -- right?

Posted by: Libby on January 18, 2006 03:31 PM

"It's all about consolidating power in the executive branch and frankly that scares the jebesus out of me. " Huh? Libby, you just don't get it. The president gets to pick who goes on the high court(s). Period. End of discussion. If the Dims want to pick, they need to win a presidential election.

Alito got the highest recommendation from the ABA and testimonials from judges across the political spectrum who know and respect him. Qwitcher gawdam whining!

Posted by: Larry on January 18, 2006 03:41 PM

Gee Larry, maybe you could help this dumb old freedom fighter out here and show me where in the Constitution it says that the Senate is to function solely as a rubberstamp for presidential edicts. I can't seem to find it.

I mean why are we wasting our tax dollars and our legislators time on confirmation hearings if no one is allowed to disagree with the choice?

Posted by: Libby on January 18, 2006 04:42 PM

This "strict constructionist" WANTS there to be three separate but equal branches, just like Jefferson and Madison intended. I don't want power consolidated solely in the executive, nor the legislative, or especially NOT the judical branch (some strained grammar there, huh).

Likewise, the Senate should not be a "rubber stamp" NOR should they block a nomination simply out of partisan spitefulness.

Glad to see the Supremes blew the thick layer of dust off the 10th Amendment. Could be the start of a Good Thing (tm).

Posted by: Grumpy Old Ham on January 18, 2006 11:33 PM

Agreed Grumpy Ham but not all disagreement is partisan and I don't think's it helpful or healthy to label disagreement based on genuine concern as mere partisan politics, out of hand.

The way I see, thoughtful disagreement is what keeps a democracy strong and reasonable debate is what leads to solutions.

Posted by: Libby on January 19, 2006 09:02 AM
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