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Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Anatomy of a Constitutional Law Issue

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Whether competent, terminally ill patients have a right to die with the assistance of their physicians or whether state and national governments have legitimate interests in forbidding the exercise of this right are the central questions around which this book revolves. In either case, essential constitutional issues as well as ethical and medical reflections enter the debate. This book, blending original sources and expert commentary, prepares its readers to enter the discussion by providing an accessible and concise introduction to the law and politics of physician-assisted suicide. Its timely appearance also sets the stage for understanding future state referenda, court decisions, legislation, and executive orders expected in 2002 and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

The Law and Politics Book Review
The fairly comprehensive presentation of cases governing this discourse makes it a valuable resource.
James M. Hoefler
A fresh, sweeping approach to this issue.
Craig R. Ducat
A good and balanced job both of covering the dimensions of the PAS controversy and of showing how the judicial process works.
Timothy Quill
The constitutional issues surrounding the legalization of physician-assisted suicide are almost as complex as the clinical issues.
Behuniak and Svenson's outstanding book provides a wealth of primary sources and cogent analysis of the legal paths that culminated in two Supreme Court cases, Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, and the recent legal challenges by Congress and the
Attorney General.
Leslie Bender
This clear, well-organized, smartly edited collection of primary sources really brings the legal and political issues of the physician-assisted suicide debates to life.
David M. O' Brien
A very useful reference and collection of materials on the vexing, timely, and on-going controversy over physician-assisted suicide.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742517240
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan M. Behuniak is professor of political science at Le Moyne College. Arthur G. Svenson is professor of government at University of Redlands.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Introduction 1
1 Background and Terminology 7
2 Direct Democracy and the PAS Debate 27
3 PAS and the Elements of Legal Analysis 39
4 The Litigation Begins: PAS on Trial in the Federal District Courts 57
5 The PAS Cases in Federal Courts of Appeals 71
6 A Change in Players and Forums: Entering the U.S. Supreme Court 87
7 Informing the Court 99
8 Before the Court 119
9 The Supreme Court Decides 133
10 The States Respond 151
11 The Executive Branch Responds 169
12 The Congress Responds 179
13 PAS and the Anatomy of Future Constitutional Law Cases 195
Index 209
About the Authors 221
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