Judge won’t protect doctors fighting assisted-suicide rule

Bob Unruh – April 8, 2017

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by two alliances of doctors opposing state rules that require them to advise terminally ill patients to consider doctor-assisted suicide.

The requirement violates the physicians’ faith as well as their constitutional rights, contend the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

But U.S. District Judge Geoffrey Crawford dismissed the complaint, claiming the plaintiffs failed “to establish subject matter jurisdiction due to lack of standing.”

In short, he said since no one had yet been punished under the requirement, there was no case.

“The court concludes that plaintiffs lack jurisdictional standing to challenge the constitutionality of Act 39 in the absence of any likelihood of imminent harm. The case is not ripe in the sense that no enforcement action is pending now or is likely to be brought in the future. The lack of standing applies across the board to all claims of constitutional violations, both state and federal. Dismissal without prejudice is required,” the judge wrote.