Montana Judge Rules Doctor-Assisted Suicides Are Legal

18-judge_thumbIn a surprising opinion out of Helena, Montana, Judge Dorothy McCarter has handed down a powerful decision in favor of the constitutional rights of patients and doctors in physician-assisted suicides.

Judge McCarter ruled that a Billings man with terminal cancer has a right to such assistance as a matter of state constitutional law: “The Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity, taken together, encompass the right of a competent terminally (ill) patient to die with dignity.” Bravo.

The state argued that this was not a matter for the courts and should be left to the legislature. They are considering an appeal.

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of such laws in Gonzales v. Oregon. The ruling reinforced the right of the states to make this determination — a win for true federalism over the assertion of federal jurisdiction by Ashcroft and Gonzales (who claimed to support state’s right but moved to bar state laws that they disagreed with).

For the full story, click here and here.

21 thoughts on “Montana Judge Rules Doctor-Assisted Suicides Are Legal”

  1. Of course not, Lindy Lou. And I’m sorry about your friend.

    Obviously, my position is the first comment made, by me, on this thread – in addition to similar comments I make all the time.

    In fact, I support similar initiatives in my state. As you know, it is a huge medical ethics issue for those of us in medical practice, so it’s important to get it right. But, of course, you would know that…

    My ‘small potatoes’ remark was intended as a supplement to an earlier one I made re Berkley City Council/Yoo and other ‘crack observations’ on the subject of recent increased ‘troll traffic’.

    Speaking of which…

  2. Oh god, the loonies are out of the woodwork. Honestly it’s the most interesting thing to see which stories bring them out. Prolific copy and paste experts they are.

  3. See Wendy, more American’s chose to donate to this calm, reasonable, intelligent man, than who chose to donate to the foaming at the mouth senile lunatic with delusions of world conquest and who couldn’t remember what he said one day to the next.

    I’m sorry that fact bugs you but get used to it.

    Because your little 8 Year Reich has ended.

    Now Bush and your kind are relegated to the History Channel, along with the Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich.

  4. Wow, a republican won Georgia.

    Who’d thunk it?

    Better buy a calculator Wendy (then get someone to show you how to use it).

    And as for having this doosy; “lost his Presidency because forever he will be known as the guy who said he would take public financing then changed his mind when he realized he could BUY the election”

    lol, well since all that happened BEFORE the election, and he did not lose the Presidency, but won the Presidency, that would make you pretty much moot.

    Like your party.

  5. waynebro: Lets see now, two losses for Democrats in Louisiana, Chambliss wins by 16 points in Georgia. I don’t know. I think the Obama love fest just came to a screaching halt in America.

    You can buy a lot of things in America for $750,000,000. Even apparently the US Presidency.

    Obama has already lost his Presidency because forever he will be known as the guy who said he would take public financing then changed his mind when he realized he could BUY the election.

  6. cole
    1, December 7, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    You and you two percenter LOSERS”

    And based on that statement you apparently are too ignorant for math as well, or current events for that matter.

    Because as everyone in the entire world knows except for apparently you holdouts, or should I say “Volksturm”, you lost the White House and most of Congress.

    But don’t worry mister loser. Next month when President Obama takes over for the mental midget that you served for the last 8 years, we’ll set up a suicide prevention hotline for the weaker losers like you who may seek to do yourselves an injury.

  7. When pork puts our troops at risk

    Scientists have discovered a lotion that can save the lives of U.S. soldiers exposed to chemical weapons — a product vastly superior to the standard-issue decontamination powder.

    Naturally, the Defense Department wants to scrap the powder and switch to the more-effective lotion.

    But there’s a problem: After being lobbied by the companies making the powder, several members of Congress pushed through two earmarks worth $7.6 million that forced the military for the past two years to keep buying the inferior product.

    The product, known as M291, is made from a resin sold exclusively by a Pennsylvania chemical company, which is then processed into powder by a New York company, then assembled into individual kits at a facility in Arkansas.

    Among the lawmakers who championed the earmarks are Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

  8. Dodd Calls for Ouster of GM CEOSenate Banking Committee head says General Motors CEO should step down amid auto bailout controversy



  9. waynebro:

    You and you two percenter LOSERS that hang around here don’t represent America anymore than a RAT represents Mammals.



    Based on the last 8 years I wasn’t under the impression that you right wingers were even aware of dictionary’s much less concerned with their content.

  11. NYT Columnist Wants To Keep Joe the Plumber From Publishing Book, Says Joe is ‘A No Good Citizen’

    By Warner Todd Huston (Bio | Archive)
    December 7, 2008 – 05:09 ET

    Talk about arrogance, but apparently New York Times Columnist Timothy Egan wants to stop Joe the Plumber from being allowed to have his book published and calls the government oppressed blue collar man a “no good citizen” and a “no good plumber.” Arrogantly, Egan imagines that Joe somehow doesn’t deserve to have a book deal.

    Egan imagines himself more qualified than Joe to write a book and in his column Egan asks Joe if he wants him to fix a leaky toilet? He then haughtily replies, “I didn’t think so.” You see, Egan thinks he is smarter than anyone as low as a Joe the Plumber.

    Egan rants: “And I don’t want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor’s gate.”

    Sounds like sour grapes here from ol’ Tim! Sounds to me like Timothy Egan has had a book or two of his own rejected by the publishing industry! Egan can’t stand the fact that someone like Joe the Plumber, a man that he obviously despises for his lower status in life, has found the fortune of a moment in time that offers a book deal. This is the sort of upper class twitism that so infects the extreme left of the American illiterati, isn’t it?

  12. Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children’s dictionary

    Julie Henry, Education Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:47PM GMT 07 Dec 2008

    Westminster Abbey may be one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, but the word abbey has been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

    Oxford University Press has removed words like “aisle”, “bishop”, “chapel”, “empire” and “monarch” from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like “blog”. Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.

    The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.

    But academics and head teachers said that the changes to the 10,000 word Junior Dictionary could mean that children lose touch with Britain’s heritage.

    “We have a certain Christian narrative which has given meaning to us over the last 2,000 years. To say it is all relative and replaceable is questionable,” said Professor Alan Smithers, the director of the centre for education and employment at Buckingham University. “The word selections are a very interesting reflection of the way childhood is going, moving away from our spiritual background and the natural world and towards the world that information technology creates for us.”

    An analysis of the word choices made by the dictionary lexicographers has revealed that entries from “abbey” to “willow” have been axed. Instead, words such as “MP3 player”, “voicemail” and “attachment” have taken their place.

    Lisa Saunders, a worried mother who has painstakingly compared entries from the junior dictionaries, aimed at children aged seven or over, dating from 1978, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, said she was “horrified” by the vast number of words that have been removed, most since 2003.

    “The Christian faith still has a strong following,” she said. “To eradicate so many words associated with the Christianity will have a big effect on the numerous primary schools who use it.”


  13. Patty, are you saying you work in the medical field and yet quality of life issues have flown underneath your radar?

    I know exactly what Jill is talking about, and I see examples of it way too often. If you are as well informed as you want to imply, you then understand that the current state of treatment for chronic pain issues is horribly inadequate. Patients go through the physical therapy, the drugs, and the injections, and when those don’t work they get sent of to Health Psychology where they are taught coping mechanisms. In other words, patients are told to live with it because medical knowledge has been exhausted.

    A person doesn’t have to be in the medical field to know this. There are often human interest stories in the news about this kind of thing. Also, I would guess many people know about things like this first-hand, as the patient or the family or friend of such a patient. All it takes is a little empathy.

    For a couple years I listened to a friend whose wife was diagnosed with kidney failure. Because of cost, even with insurance, she decided against dialysis and chose to die. But then end did not come quickly, and she lingered for several years. Much of that time she was in the state of encephalopathy from high ammonia levels. This was devastating for her family. This whole thing went on and on, and she bounced in and out of hospice. In the end, they did end up losing the family farm that was the basis of her decision to refuse dialysis. My friend ended up dying within a year of her death.

    People all over the place know stories like this, whatever field they are in. All it takes is a little empathy.

  14. ‘I hope our medicine improves so this will never be the case, but it is the reality now. I’m glad for the decision.’

    What the ‘F’ are you talking about, Jill?

    You have no experience in medicine or the law
    – much less with children!

    As I said with regard to your ‘stand’ on sexual and physical abuse, generally – give it a rest!

    You are uninformed.

  15. This judge is as far left as most of the nuts that watch Countdown.

    We kill babies in the womb before they are born because they could be a drag on the parents lives so why not change the law to help them kill themselves when they are old so they aren’t a drag on their KID’S lives.

    I guess the only real question is what if the spoiled rotten kids we have today are the ones telling mummy & daddy they are useless……..? This could make all the liberals with young kids question the intelligence of their decision to allow them to be born.

  16. …’small potatoes’ commonly referred in your vanacular as ‘taters’,
    likewise known as ‘Tater Tots’
    – mmmmmm, yummy…

  17. Opposition to assisted suicide, as with abortion and gay marriage, has always seemed to be based in religious ideology taking precendence over lived experience. I agree that strong measures need to be in place to assure no one “chooses” suicide because they are poor, don’t want to be a “burden” on their family, or have untreated depression and pain. But to let someone suffer because “only god can end a life” (as I often hear in these discussions) seems obscene. It also seems like a privledging of one type of religion over others. Sometimes death comes as a welcome relief. I hope our medicine improves so this will never be the case, but it is the reality now. I’m glad for the decision.

  18. Louisiana delivers GOP 2 seats in Congress

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Louisiana delivered the GOP two seats in Congress in what many believe is a watershed election for the direction of the economy and politics in America and signaling what could be a disaster for Democrats in 2010.

    Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was ousted Saturday from his New Orleans area district, while Republicans easily held on to the seat vacated by a retiring incumbent.

    The wins followed Republicans’ reconquest of another House seat earlier this fall that had been lost to Democrats.

    In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes most of New Orleans, Republican attorney Anh “Joseph” Cao won 58 percent of the vote to Jefferson’s 40 percent and will become the first Vietnamese-American in Congress.

    His only previous political experience was an unsuccessful 2007 bid for a seat in the state legislature.

  19. President Bush was on Meet The Press today. Oh, excuse me, that was BARACK OBAMA sounding almost exactly like President Bush on all questions!

    Barack gets it; with the economy tanking, Pelosi & Reid spending us broke, and trillion dollar deficits looming for 2009 & 2010, Republicans will be taking over the Congress in 2010.

  20. Bravissimo,
    Judge Dorothy McCarter!


    ‘Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006),[1] was a United States Supreme Court case which ruled that the United States Attorney General could not enforce the Controlled Substances Act against physicians prescribing drugs for the assisted suicide of the terminally ill as permitted by an Oregon law.

    *** It was the first major case heard under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.’ …

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