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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

My Debate With Jonathan Adler About Pending Supreme Court Case Involving Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law



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A few months ago, the National Review's Jonathan Adler and I debated the upcoming Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Oregon. The case will determine whether the federal government must permit federally controlled substances to be used in assisted suicide in Oregon, or whether it can pursue its own federal public policy on the issue with regard to the regulation of narcotics under the Controlled Substances Act. Adler believes that Oregon should win because federalism leaves the regulation of medical practice to the states. I counter that both the states and feds can have distinct public policies about the matter and that the states do not have the right to impose their views on the regulation of federal law.

It is important to note that this exchange took place before the Supreme Court decided Gonzales v. Raich, which permitted the feds open latitude to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws even in states that permit medical marijuana, and even if the marijuana was grown at home. If anything, the Raich decision strengthens my position. ( My take on Raich as it might impact Gonzales v. Oregon is reprinted here.)

The debate will be published one exchange at a time all this week at this link.


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