The Missing Grownup Republicans Stay Missing
Michael Hiltzik on the Prescription Drug Benefit Rollout

Judicial Activism

Mark Kleiman points out that it's only "judicial activism" when liberal judges do it:

The Reality-Based Community: Judging and personal beliefs : Now comes Justice Scalia, in dissent in the Oregon assisted-suicide case. As a legal matter, the key question was whether the Justice Department could use the its [licensing] power... to regulate the practice of medicine, as opposed to using that power only to prevent "script-doctoring" and the diversion of drugs to the illicit market. The regulations provide that physicians may prescribe drugs only for a "legitimate medical purpose." Could that rule be used to overrule the decision of the voters of Oregon, voting in a referendum, to allow physicians in that state to help badly suffering terminally ill patients put an end to their misery? To Scalia, the answer is clear. "If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death." Savor that "surely," if you will. Because Scalia finds assisted suicide morally offensive, it "surely" must be the case that relieving suffering by hastening death isn't a legitimate part of what a physician does.

I'm glad Scalia's opinion was a dissent, not so much because a few Oregonians will continue to have access to physician assistance in ending their lives - the job can be done without the use of controlled substances, for example by using a breathing mask hooked up to a tank of an inert gas or nitrous oxide - as for the sake of striking down what seemed to me a clearly illegitimate power grab by the Federal government on behalf of the prejudices of the "God" faction of ruling God-and-Mammon coalition that is the political base of the current ruling oligarchy. But it's also worth noticing how empty the conservatarian promise of "neutral" judging turns out to be when push comes to shove.

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