Briefly noted

The Bush administration asked a federal appellate court July 12 to reconsider its spring decision to uphold Oregon’s assisted-suicide law. It would like the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside its May ruling that backed the only law in the country that permits doctors to assist patients in hastening their deaths, the Associated Press reported. The Justice Department said the case, decided 2-1, should be reheard by a panel of 11 judges. The three-judge panel determined that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot hold Oregon physicians criminally liable for prescribing overdoses under the voter-approved Death with Dignity Act. The administration believes federal drug laws bar doctors from dispensing medication that would be used to end the life of a patient. Eli Stutsman, a lawyer who represents a doctor and pharmacist in the case, said the federal government does not have authority over the state assisted-suicide law.


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