Ashcroft gets ass kicked by Oregon, Fed Judge.

Oregon has an Assited Suicide Law, one that has been put in place by democratic means, and tehn reaffirmed overwhelmingly by democratic means. Attouney General Ashcroft, without hearing or request for intervention, decided to unilaterally over-ride the Will Of The People.

He got his ass handed to him.

I don’t particularly have formed opinions about Ashcroft one way or the other, save for a mild personal dislike, but on this subject he stepped way out of bounds, and got his self-righteous ass kicked, but good!

Some sample quotes:

Hah! Take that, Ashcroft!

Now let’s get him off our back where Oregon’s medical marijuana law is concerned.

When I first heard about him taking on this law, my first thought was back to his congressional hearings where he was assuring congress that his religious views wouldn’t interfere w/his duties as AG. My second thought was (since Ashcroft did this in early November) was doesn’t he have anything more important on his plate than to worry about this?

Since I haven’t heard about any action being taken against folks preventing women from accessing abortion clinics since he took office, I’m sure that means that they’ve stopped doing that, vs. he’s put it on a ‘low priority’, right? cause he assured us that his personal views wouldn’t impact how he did his job.

Thank god we have judicial review otherwise Ashcroft would have his own happy little police state in this country.

And that going to piss me off in 2 years is that after the terrorist attack Bush is going to get reelected and we’ll have Ashcroft for another fucking 4 years!

I believe with all my heart and soul that John Ashcroft is the most dangerous high-ranking official in the United States.

Gosh… nice to see that the ever loving Left of the SDMB has turned into champions of States’ Rights!

I’ll remind you of your convenient new principles when an Attorney General more to your liking is in power, and confronts a state law you’re less fond of.

nice, astorian wonder if you’re going to engage the actual issue? nah, it’s more fun to snipe.

Hear fucking hear. For what it’s worth, I agree with Oregon on this one, but astorian’s point is well taken. If there are limits on the federal government’s power to regulate the states, then they exist when we like the by-products of those limits and when we don’t.

Well, as I’ve been a supporter of State’s Rights in general, I’m still sitting right were I started.

While I realize that States Rights is an absolute for some folks, a discussion of States Rights does not have to be an all-or-nothing issue.

Even if one is not a States Rights flag waver, one can ask “Where is the compelling Federal interest in this law?”

It does not appear to be abridging anyone’s right to speak, worship, publish, bear weapons, be secure in their possessions, etc. If it is written in a manner similar to that of the Netherlands law that allows interested third parties to make the decision for a comatose patient, one might consider that it stomps around the edges of Fourteenth Amendment guarantees, prompting a Federal interest. If it requires that the decision be made by a sane and wakeful person, I do not see the Federal interest.

Some of us are not great fans of States Rights (including some of us who are not at all comfortable with the Oregon law) and we still don’t see a need (or justification) for Federal intervention.

I for one am a fan of states rights. They’re a part of the Bill of Rights, all of which I support.

I dislike Ashcroft’s position intensely. Aside from the states rights issue, ISTM Oregon has a reasonable law.

I’m very glad Ashcroft’s action was overturned.

I think I’ll crack a beer and do a “happy dance.” For years it’s seemed like the Tenth Ammendment to The United States Constitution has been a dead letter.

Now if we could just go back and undo some of that other crap…

I have no strong opinion either way on state’s rights, but I strongly believe that physician-assisted suicide is a perfectly valid way to alleviate great suffering.

I wonder, can it be argued that opposition to assisted suicide isn’t always religion-based? Is there any secular arguments against it? If not, then I don’t know why this isn’t more of a sep. of church and state issue than a state’s rights issue.

Actually, that might make a good Great Debate, I think I’ll go open a thread there, and not hiijack this rant.

Am I allowed to cheer Judge Jones’ decision as well, or am I going to be called names if I do?

I gotcher pigeonhole riiiight here, astorian.

For me it has nothing to do with state’s rights, it has to do with the right of ** The People, ** remember them?

Damn, I started a debate, when all I expected was a general flaming of Ashcroft and his stupid exercise in unwanted intervention.

There was no Federal Interest in overturning the law, it was obviously The Will Of The People, and the attempt was a waste of good man-hours. What the hell did Ashcroft think he was doing, anyway? Doesn’t he have bigger fish to fry? And (debate point here) why would assisted suicide not be a valid medical procedure? I thought pysicians swore to do “no unnecessary harm”. Wouldn’t prolonging a life of agony be harmful? I certainly think so! Having recently dealt with two cancer deaths in my family, I can certainly say that not all terminal cases need so drastic a step, but for those where aggressive pain management doesn’t work, I can also see that keeping a person alive in agony would be nothing more than relentless torture.

Back to the flame: And who the hell is Ashcroft to make medical determinations, anyway? What are his medical credentials? Did he consult with hospice physicians? The AMA? Anyone? He sure as hell didn’t check with the state of Oregon!

This thread wasn’t started to discuss States Rights. Just Ashcroft.

This has everything to do with states’ right, Stoid - which People are you talking about, after all? The people of the state of Oregon, or the people of the United States as a whole?

The people of Oregon have indicated their desire to permit legalized, physician-assisted suicide. The people of the United States, as a whole, have not embraced this concept.

Recognizing that we are a republic, in which the will of the people is considered to be expressed by acts of the legislature, the federal government legislature has passed the Controlled Substances Act, which forbids non-medical use of certain substances. Federal law trumps state law, when the two conflict. However, federal law may not infringe upon matters that the Constitution does not allow it to tread.

So the questions are these: does the federal government have a general authority to control the use of substances in non-medical settings? Yes, it’s clear that they do. Even though a state may also impose controls on drugs, it’s permissible for the feds to enforce country-wide legislation on this topic.

More to the point: does the federal government have the authority to decide what constitutes medical use?

This is the subject under debate. Oregonians believe that the use of narcotic substances to end a terminally ill life is “medical” – and thus within their ability to regulate. Ashcroft’s Justice Department has taken the position that it is not “medical” and thus falls within the purview of controlling federal law.

Those who believe the federal government’s reach should be limited are typically on the right side of the house; those who champion far-reaching federal authority, typically on the left. This is an interesting twist of roles, and I believe it says a lot about the integrity of a person’s convictions when a former “states rights” advocate is now seen backing away from the position, or, indeed, when a former advocate of federal power is now seen decrying the infringement upon the rights of Oregonians.

I have much respect, in turn, for those who wince and say, “Well, I don’t like it one bit, but it’s Oregon’s right to permit such things,” and for the person on the other side of the aisle who says, “Even though I believe in a person’s right to physician-assisted suicide, if they choose it, it’s really a nation-wide question, and Oregon can’t buck federal law.”

Who has the authority to decide issues like this, Stoid? The state in question, or the federal government?

  • Rick

Oh, by the way – A federal district court judge’s opinion has no precedential value whatsoever. Since this turns on law, if it’s appealed, the Circuit Court will make their own, independent, de novo determination of what the law is.

  • Rick

That would be me, and it is making me very, very uncomfortable.