Your Lying Eyes

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17 January 2006

Were They Sending a Message?

Today the Supreme Court ruled that the attorney general does not have the power to prevent assisted suicides in Oregon. The court split along ideological lines but with O'Connor and Kennedy joining the liberals to hand the administration a 6-3 loss. We can assume that Alito would have voted with Scalia, Roberts and Thomas, so the important thing to note is Kennedy's role. He not only sided with the liberal side, but he wrote the opinion to boot. I can't help thinking that this didn't just happen this way - a clear signal is being sent that a rightward lurch is not going to happen. I've explained to my readers before that O'Connor's retirement would not significantly alter the court's overall moderately leftward tilt - here the court drove the point home for everyone else.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can make a pretty good right-wing case for assisted suicide. More assisted suicides = fewer people requiring costly, end-of-life care = less burden on the taxpayers.

Peter
http://journals.aol.com/r32r38/Ironrailsironweights/

January 18, 2006 12:08 AM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

whewwww..... now I can sleep.

January 18, 2006 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the line between libs and conservatives might be a little blurry on this one.

January 18, 2006 10:44 AM  
Anonymous daveg said...

This case is not based on constitutional law.

I am not saying you are wrong, but I don't think this case shows us too much.

January 18, 2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

There is a lot of fog around this case, surely. But Kennedy's decision was classic tortuous reasoning that conservatives naturally abhor. What Kennedy said is that the executive branch can regulate the country pretty much as it sees fit except for certain high-profile issues that the court will from time-to-time make exceptions for.
I think it's significant that there were no concurring opinions here. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some movement on the court's left wing to establish a constitutional right to die, and Kennedy offered up a less dramatic, more nuanced narrow ruling that they could live with. I am brazenly leaping to the conclusion that the majority opinion was a way to show unity with Kennedy's compromise effort.

January 18, 2006 7:58 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

Praise to Leahy for announcing his vote against Alito.

January 19, 2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was rather shocked that the "conservatives" were voting for the government in a state's right issue anyway.

January 19, 2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Conservatives tend to like firmer more consistent rules rather than ad hoc approaches. This was an ad hoc approach to federal power - the federal government has the right to do pretty much anything it likes (according to liberals) except when we don't like it. Scalia was basically saying, Look, either the executive branch has the right to make up its own rules or it doesn't - you can't just make exceptions willy-nilly.

January 20, 2006 7:59 AM  
Anonymous daveg said...

Conservatives tend to like firmer more consistent rules rather than ad hoc approaches. This was an ad hoc approach to federal power ...

Ziel, your legal anaylisis is very good for a non-lawyer.

The opinion by Kennedy is abysmal.

January 20, 2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Dave, thanks. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of Americans - including those who should know better, it's only the result of the decision that matters, and they couldn't care less how it was arrived at.

January 21, 2006 12:25 PM  
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