News & Events
Constitutional and Bioethics Scholar Available for Comment on Supreme Court Case Relating to Physician-Assisted Suicide
Professor Marc Spindelman will comment on Gonzales v. Oregon
February 23, 2005
An Ohio State University Moritz College of Law expert says that the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon may eventually determine whether the federal government can override state laws permitting physician-assisted suicide and other controversial medical practices. On February 22, the Court agreed to hear and decide the case.
Professor Marc Spindelman, a nationally respected scholar in the fields of constitutional law and bioethics, who has spoken and written widely about the Gonzalez v. Oregon litigation, believes that the Justices of the Supreme Court should be wary of arguments that ultimately depend on the idea that regulation of medical practice must-as a constitutional matter-be left to the states.
"If regulation of medical practice is really the state's job as defenders of Oregon's assisted suicide law maintain," Spindelman asks, "what happens to, say, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ability to keep unsafe drugs off the market? What about the federal government's ability to mandate a national patients' bill of rights?"
Gonzales v. Oregon involves the decision by former U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to interpret the federal Controlled Substances Act to ban physician-assisted suicide, even in Oregon , where the practice is otherwise legal. Two lower courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, found that Congress did not intend the federal drug law to block states from making their own judgments about what legitimate medical practice is, including whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Since 1891, the Moritz College of Law has played a leading role in the legal profession through countless contributions made by alumni and faculty. Graduates of the school reside in all 50 states and 20 other countries and include justices of the state supreme court justices , federal district and circuit court judges, current and former U.S. senators and representatives, state attorney s general, managing partners in law firms of all sizes, chief executive officers of Fortune 500 corporations, and attorneys with nonprofit organizations and public interest law firms.