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Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997) p.52supp


substantive due process


Petitioners are the State. Respondents are the physicians who practice in Washington. The doctors say that the would assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives if it were not for Washington's assisted suicide ban.


Whether the liberty specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes a right to commit suicide which itself includes a right to assistance in doing so.


If there is a rational relationship between state's interest and permitting the suicide, then the state will prevail. There must be a reasonable relationship between an assisted suicide ban and the promotion and protection of the law.


We conclude that the asserted right to assistance in committing suicide is not a fundamental liberyt interest protected by the due process clause.


We begin as we do in all due process cases by examining our Nation's history, legal traditions, and practices. Due process clause guarantees more than fiar process, and the liberty it protects includes more than the absence of physical restraint. We have suggested that the DPC protects the traditional right to refuse unwanted lifesaving medical treatment. Two primary features of the substantvie due process analysis:
1. DPC specially protects those fundamental rights and liberties which are deeply rooted in this Nation's history
2. We have required in substantive due process cases a careful description of the asserted fundamental liberty interest.

States have many interests: could make it more difficult for the state to protect depressed or mentally ill persons. State also has an interest in protectin the integrity and ethics of the medical profession. State has an interest in protecting vulnerable groups from abuse, neglect, and mistakes. The state may fear that permitting assited suicide will start it down the path to voluntary and perhaps even involuntary euthanasia.


What would the Court say if a patient was in severe untreatable pain, and wanted to die. Would physician assisted suicide be allowed?

Created on: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 at 17:09:09 (PST)

Copyright © Thompson Resources, 1999, all rights reserved.