California Appellate Court Hears Assisted Suicide Arguments

 

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Life Legal attorneys at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

 

Death peddlers — who are now focusing on marketing murder as “physician-assisted suicide” — often rely on the courts to advance their agenda. However, when a court does its job and starts to ask them pointed questions, they are flabbergasted. They just don’t have any answers.

LIfe Legal attorneys appeared in appellate court last week in our challenge to California’s assisted suicide law. As you may recall, Life Legal won our lawsuit at the trial court level earlier this year and we succeeded in having the law blocked . . . for a time.

The Attorney General and death-on-demand activists “Compassion and Choices” (C&C) appealed the ruling to California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, which unfortunately reinstated the law for the time being. C&C is represented by O’Melveny and Myers, a Los Angeles-based law firm with over $720 million in annual revenue.

For those who don’t know, “Compassion and Choices” is the grossly misnamed group that started as the Hemlock Society, which promotes assisted suicide as well as voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. This group, heavily funded by George Soros, has opposed several of our attempts to continue life-sustaining care for disabled patients. In one case, C&C fought to have nutrition and hydration withdrawn from a disabled young man who could breathe on his own and respond to his family.

The question before the court last week was whether our plaintiffs—several doctors and the American Academy of Medical Ethics—have standing to bring the lawsuit. We won on this exact issue at the trial court level, but the appellate court wanted to revisit it.

Oral arguments were heard by a three-member panel of justices. Both the Attorney General and C&C argued that our doctors did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because they could elect not to provide so-called “aid-in-dying” to their patients. But our doctors became involved in the case because they were concerned that the law permitted their patients to be exploited by unscrupulous family members and medical providers who make a living selling expensive prescriptions for lethal drugs.

Right out of the gate, the Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez asked the lawyer for the Attorney General’s (AG) office, which is defending the statute, who would be able to bring a challenge to a controversial law like this one. The AG’s lawyer stammered for a bit and then admitted that he had no idea.

Our attorney countered that this was not an acceptable answer. Surely the Attorney General could not have meant that the legislature can enact unconstitutional laws without any accountability whatsoever. In this case, a select group of California lawmakers circumvented the normal legislative process to force through a bill that had been rejected by their colleagues for decades.

The justices gave Life Legal ample time to present our arguments and address the justices’ questions. My impression is that the justices want to find a way to address not only the unconstitutional manner in which the End of Life Option Act was passed, but also to rule on the merits of the Act. They were very thorough in their questions and seemed to take great interest in our position.

And now comes the hardest part of arguing a case like this . . . waiting for the court’s ruling.

Please join us in prayer for a favorable decision from the court!

Author: Life Legal

The Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit law firm that specializes in the defense of vulnerable human life, especially life in the womb.

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