Constitutional Law Keyed to Feldman
Washington v. Glucksberg
It is a crime to assist suicide in Washington. Petitioners are the State of Washington and its Attorney General. Respondents are physicians who practice medicine in Washington. Respondents occasionally treat terminally ill patients and claim that they would help these patients end their lives if not for Petitioners’ ban on assisted suicides. In January 1993, Respondents, along with three terminally ill patients (who have since died), and a non-profit organization that counsels people considering physician assisted suicide sued in the United Stated District Court claiming that Petitioners’ assisted suicide ban is unconstitutional. The District Court invalidated the statute. The Court of Appeals reversed, but then reversed itself en banc and affirmed the District Court. The en banc decision held that “the Constitution encompasses a due process liberty interest in controlling the time and manner of one’s death” and the state’s assisted suicide ban was unconstitutional.
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