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Fordham University School of Law




I shall argue for the constitutional right to die, including the right of terminally ill persons to physician-assisted suicide. Indeed, I shall argue that it would be a constitutional tragedy if the Supreme Court were to hold that the Constitution does not protect such a right to die,2 and thus to overrule the Ninth Circuit decision in Compassion in Dying v. Washington3 (to say nothing of the Second Circuit decision in Quill v. Vacco4). First, such a holding would entail that the Constitution sanctions a grievous wrong, a horrible form of tyranny: allowing the state to impose upon some citizens, against the grain of their conscientious, considered convictions about dying with dignity, what they regard as a ruinous, tragic ending of their lives.' Second, such a decision would represent an awful interpretive tragedy: for the Constitution, rightly interpreted, does not permit this dreadful evil but to the contrary allows citizens to author their own tragic endings. Here, I shall draw upon an essay I wrote for a recent Symposium on "Constitutional Tragedies."



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