Human Exceptionalism

Comments about Gonzales v. Oregon from Dr. Eric Chevlen

My co-author of Power Over Pain wrote me an interesting note about the recent SCOTUS opinion on assisted suicide: “I began to read the Gonzales decision last night. I noticed something very interesting in the first few paragraphs of the majority opinion. It refers to Oregon as being “the first” state to legalize PAS. I would have written “the only” rather than “the first.” The latter formulation carries a tacit expectation that more will follow…I think that that choice of words revealed the heart’s desire in Justice Kennedy’s heart. He also refers to the CSA controlled substances in question as being used, in lower doses, to treat pain. The fact is that nearly 100% of the people who die via PAS die from an overdose of barbiturates, not of opioids. Barbiturates are not analgesic. Thus is another myth perpetuated.”

This would substantiate my suspicion that the decision was somewhat result-oriented. It also demonstrates that the courts (and media) are often wrong on basic facts.

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