The Magazine

Putting Federalism to Sleep

The wrong way to argue against assisted suicide.

Oct 31, 2005, Vol. 11, No. 07 • By NELSON LUND
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Assisted suicide is a serious issue. So is abortion. Less visibly, but no less important, this case involves the obligation of judges to be faithful to the constitutional principle of federalism. That principle should be especially significant in guiding the resolution of controversial issues, but the principle seldom has a strong political constituency. For that reason, whatever our views on assisted suicide and abortion, we should all hope that in this case the new chief justice will be true to Rehnquist's spirit rather than to the will of the president who appointed him.

Nelson Lund teaches at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.