Law & the Courts

The Corner

Charlie Gard Lawyer’s Ideological Conflict of Interest

Advocates for letting Charlie Gard’s parents decide when and if to remove life support — and to allow Charlie to receive a last-ditch effort experimental treatment — are crying foul at the named-barrister appointed by the court to represent the guardian, and hence, his interests in the case.

The attorney’s name is Victoria Butler Cole. So who is Ms. Cole? She is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Compassion in Dying.

CiD does not directly promote assisted suicide. But CiD’s proclaimed “sister organization,” Dignity in Dying, most certainly does.  

This is highly problematic. A court-appointed attorney for Charlie should be someone who understands end-of-life issues, but also, is an advocate who is clearly identified as independent and unbiased. 

Ms. Cole’s close association as the chairman of the board of a group closely affiliated with a hard-line assisted suicide advocacy organization does not pass that test. 

At the very least, her appointment would seem to create the appearance of a conflict of ideological interest and renders her continuing advocacy for the immediate cessation of all life support — to put it tactfully — unsurprising.  

Update: This post has been corrected to note that Cole technically represents the guardian, appointed to represent Charlie’s interests. I regret the factual misstatement. But the point of the post remains unchanged.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More