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HIGH COURT TAKES UP OREGON’S SUICIDE LAW The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to referee the emotionally charged debate over Oregon’s “Death With Dignity” law, which allows physicians to prescribe drugs to hasten the death of terminally ill patients. The court added to its fall argument docket the case of Gonzales v. Oregon, which new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales inherited from predecessor John Ashcroft, a longtime opponent of assisted suicide. The 1994 law, unique in the nation, gives Oregon doctors the authority to prescribe controlled substances to mentally competent, terminally ill patients who are within six months of dying. Since it took effect in 1998, 171 Oregonians have committed suicide under the law. Gov. Ted Kulongoski of Oregon said he was disappointed the court took up the case. “The people of Oregon have approved Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act not once, but twice, and the lower courts have upheld Oregon’s law not once, but twice,” he said in a statement. In filing the appeal with the Supreme Court in November, Ashcroft sought to overturn a May 2004 decision from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld Oregon’s law. — Legal Times U.S. JUDGE WON’T TAKE LAW CLERKS FROM YALE A federal judge in Alabama has announced that he will not consider Yale Law School students for federal clerkships because of the school’s decision to deny military recruiters equal access to its campus. The school and the U.S. Department of Defense have been embroiled in a legal fight over the issue, with the school this month announcing that it would return to its nondiscriminatory recruiting policy that will, in effect, limit access to military recruiters who deny enlistment to homosexuals. Not everyone was happy about the school’s position. In a recent letter to his alma mater, Senior Judge William Acker of the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham told the school’s dean that no Yale law students need apply for clerkships “� unless and until YLS [Yale Law School] changes its mind or the Solomon Amendment is found by the Second Circuit or by the Supreme Court to be constitutional and enforceable against YLS,” the judge wrote. Professor Eugene Volokh, who teaches First Amendment law at UCLA School of Law, disagrees with Acker’s decision. “Collective punishment can sometimes be an effective method of sending a message to an institution, but it’s not quite fair to penalize the student for the law school he went to. Judges ought to try to be extra fair to everyone.” — The National Law Journal

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