Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on assisted suicide was not a surprise, but it will likely mean more work for Congress. The high court rejected a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, ruling a federal drug law does not take precedence over the 1997 Oregon law which more than 200 seriously ill people have used to end their lives. Grassley says he’s not sure what legislators will do next on the issue.
Grassley says there’s always discussion of letting states do things more themselves and the extent to which the Supreme Court makes decisions based on the laws passed by Congress, while the majority said the law Congress wrote regulating drugs did not go far as the Attorney General interpreted. Grassley says there are two underlying issues with the decision that Congress must figure out — states’ rights and euthanasia.
Grassley says he’s on record as being pro-life, even though this involves euthanasia and not abortion, it involves the same principles, so he has “mixed emotions” about it. Grassley says he’s not upset about the Supreme Court decision since Congress will likely address the issue. He says “Congress can still legislate in that area if we want to in a specific way where the court would not have any way of overruling us because it was not a Constitutional ruling, it was an interpretation of a statue.” Grassley made his comments while visiting Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City this week, reviewing the hospital’s new computerized record-keeping system.