Summary Of The Supreme Court Case Gonzales Vs. Oregon

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The Supreme Court Case Gonzales vs. Oregon, argued on October 5, 2005, deals with an act that Oregon enacted, the “Death With Dignity Act.” Under this act, physicians had the power to prescribe fatal doses of controlled substances to patients who were terminally ill —meaning that suicide assisted by a doctor was now legal in Oregon. Attorney General John Ashcroft, in 2001, asked that law enforcement prosecute doctors who prescribed these lethal doses of controlled substances by issuing a ruling called the “Ashcroft Directive.” The Ashcroft Directive stated that under the Controlled Substances Act, suicide under a physician was not an actual “medical purpose,” and therefore, illegal. The General Attorney proceeding Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, …show more content…

One of the main points that Gonzales used to support him is an Amendment to the Controlled Substances Act that gives the Attorney general of the United States the power to prohibit certain controlled substances from being used if they were not helpful or not in the best interests of the people. The two clauses that were vital to the case were the Controlled Substances Act as well as the Death With Dignity Act. One of the argument that Oregon made was the fact that states usually regulated and looked after their own medical practices. One of the main issues that was seen within the case was morality. There was an amicus curiae of the Catholic Medical Association, one of the multiple instances in which an issue of morality was involved. The state of Oregon addressed these issues of morality by assuring that there were in place many safeguards in the act, and that there were limits to who could actually get the treatment (for example, only patients who are at least six months within dying are able to get …show more content…

The justices who ruled in favor of Oregon were Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Anthony Kennedy, who delivered the verdict. The three justices who dissented were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts. The final statement showed that Congress’s intentions when they created the Controlled Substances Act was not to limit or standardize medical practices, but rather to prevent doctors from engaging in drug dealing. They stated that it was not within the power of the Attorney General to outlaw certain medical

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