Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not quite as promised

I told you I'd present an analysis of the Supreme Court's "assisted suicide" decision when the opinions were available. They're here, and I did indeed write a long post evaluating the three opinions (Kennedy for the 6 in the majority), plus dissents by Scalia and Thomas, with the Chief concurring with Scalia. But Blogger ate my post and, alas, I didn't save it and haven't the inclination to re-present it in its entirety.
So here's the upshot: Most of the differences between majority and dissent were over statutory and regulatory interpretation and power, with the majority restricting both and the supposed "conservatives" arguing for expansive definitions and intent of federal law. First of all, that's counter-intuitive, right? Second, the dissents were willing to adopt a definition of "medical practice" as "curative" related to the body solely (think Terry Schiavo), whereas the majority didn't pretend to make that judgment, holding that the Attorney General had no such power under the statute. So, what appears to me is that if the issue is a doctrinairre one (medical marijuana, right-to-die, abortion) the conservatives are willing to grant the feds wide authority over Americans' conduct; but if the issue is commerce, they're careful to leave business alone.

Why am I surprised?

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