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14 Cards in this Set

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Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health - Rehnquist (majority)

Carefulto define the right narrowly because if there is a right to die, it could notbe limited to terminally ill patients. That would be an equal protectionproblem. So the right here is the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment,which is based in common law on battery: the right to be free from unwantedtouching. Blackstone extended that right to unwanted medical treatment.




Concludesthat the state’s limitation on the right to be free from wanted medicaltreatment was justifiable. Even if some people who wanted food and water to beremoved will not meet the limitation, that is still acceptable because theconsequences of an erroneous decision are irredeemable.

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health - O'Connor (concurrence)

Protected liberty interest inferred from ourprior decisions. refusal of artificially delivered food and water isincluded in that interest. There was no violation of that interest here. Emphasized Court does not today decide the issue whether a State mustalso give effect to the decisions of a surrogate decisionmaker.

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health - Scalia (concurrence)

Federal courts have no business in this field. American law has always accorded State the power to prevent, by force ifnecessary, suicide.

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health - Brenna/Marshall/Blackmun (dissent)

Cruzan entitled to choose to die with dignity. State has no legitimate general interest in someone’s life, completelyabstracted from the interest of the person living that life, that couldoutweigh the person’s choice to avoid medical treatment.

Nutritionand Hydration for Patients in a Vegetative State - Catholic Church

Nutrition and hydration may be removed in PVSpatient cases when the available means are not effective or if the means itselfconstituted a burden. These situationsare rare. Furthermore, the obligation toprovide artificially assisted food and fluids may not bind in situations ofextreme poverty or in the absence of a modern health care system, because oneis not held to do what is impossible.

Is Nutritionand Hydration for Patients in a Vegetative State reconcilable with Cruzan?

Theremoval of food and water is not always an expression of suicide becausesometimes it is ethical. You can make adecision that has a foreseeable consequence of killing you but still not intendthat result. However, Cruzan is not consistent with theCatholic position because Cruzanholds that there is an implicit right to refuse medical treatment, includingthe artificial administration of food and hydration, so long as there is clearand convincing evidence of intent. Ifyou cannot yourself commit suicide because it alienates your life, you cannotallow someone else to make that decision.

Washington v. Glucksberg - Rehnquist (majority)

Hesaid the standard is the TwinningStandard (deeply rooted in nation’s history and implicit in the concept ofordered liberty. There are competing standards here (the Lawrence standard and the Glucksbergstandard). That is not unusual. What is unusual is that Kennedy hassimultaneously inconsistent standards.




Deeply Rooted: (1) Commonlaw protected the right to be free from battery and unwanted medical treatment. This does not extend to a right to die. You have to take the common law as you find it. (2) historyof opposing physician-assisted suicide. (3) traditionof opposing suicide itself.




Implicitin Concept of Ordered Liberty: Thestates do not have to give you the law of the land, provided they do not gobelow a certain minimum (a just and decent society would have to provide the right).

Washington v. Glucksberg - O'Connor (concurrence)

There is no need to reach the question ofwhether a mentally competent person who is experiencing great suffering has aconstitutionally cognizable interest in controlling the circumstances of his orher imminent death. There is no law against a patient suffering from aterminal illness and suffering great pain from obtaining medication to easethat suffering, even if it hastens death.

Washington v. Glucksberg - Stevens (concurrence)

The right here is different than that in Cruzan. This freedom embraces a person’s interest in dignity and in determiningthe character of the memories that will survive long after her death. Cruzandid give recognition to the more specific interest in making decisions abouthow to confront an imminent death. State interests in banningphysician-assisted suicide don’t have the same force in all cases.

Washington v. Glucksberg - Souter - (concurrence)

Here, the State may not rest on thresholdrationality or a presumption of constitutionality but may prevail only on theground of an interest sufficiently compelling to place within the realm of thereasonable a refusal to recognize the individual right asserted. Courtmust assess the relative weights of the contending interests. Twoconstraints: (1) bound to confine the values that it recognizes to those trulydeserving constitutional stature. (2) only when the legislation’sjustifying principle, critically valued, is so far from being commensurate withthe individual interest as to be arbitrarily or pointlessly applied that thestatute must give way. Importance of the individual interest here cannotbe gained. State has put forward interests protecting life generally,discouraging suicide even if knowing and voluntary, and protecting terminallyill patients from involuntary suicide and euthanasia, both voluntary andnonvoluntary. The last is dispositive for me. The slippery slope isfairly made out here.

Washington v. Glucksberg - Breyer (concurrence)

Personal control over the manner of death,professional medical assistance, and the avoidance of unnecessary and severephysical suffering combined. This is the right to die with dignity. The Court need not decide whether such a right is fundamental because theavoidance of severe physical pain connected with death would have to comprisean essential part of any successful claim and the laws before us do not force adying person to undergo that kind of pain.

Vacco v. Quill - Rehnquist (majority)

This clause embodies a general rule that Statesmust treat like cases alike but may treat unlike cases accordingly. Distinction between assisting suicide and withdrawing life-sustainingtreatment is widely recognized and endorsed in the medical profession and inour legal traditions. This distinction comports with fundamental legalprinciples of causation and intent. (1) when a patient refuses suchtreatment, he dies from an underlying fatal disease or pathology whereas if apatient ingests lethal medication prescribed by a physician, he is killed bythat medication. (2) A physician who withdraws treatment purposefullyintends only to respect his patient’s wishes whereas a physician who assists asuicide must necessarily and indubitably intend primarily that the patient bemade dead. (3) A patient who commits suicide with a doctor’s aidnecessarily has the specific intent to end his or her own life whereas apatient who refuses or discontinues treatment might not.

Declarationon Euthanasia - Catholic Church

Irreconcilablewith physician-assisted suicide. Sincesuicide is wrong objectively, then any assistance is likewise wrong.




If it isordinary care, you cannot refuse the treatment. If it is extraordinary, you can refuse it. Food and hydration are generally ordinarycare. It can only be refused when it isineffective, too burdensome, too painful, etc.




Can aCatholic have a living will designating a surrogate? Depends on the phraseology of thestatement. Must include theexceptions.

Declaration on Euthanasia - Factors for Ordinary vs. Extraordinary care

Experimental Nature of the Treatment




How efficiacious the treatment will bein achieving its intended result




What’s the benefit to the patient(prolong life or cause pain?)




Will it apply burdens likepsychological, monetary, or community?