On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to announce Neil Gorsuch, a Denver-based judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to be his nominee for the Supreme Court. He’s a solid conservative pick with a demonstrated affection for religious interests and coming from a family of small-government values. But of all the issues, the one about which Gorsuch seems to be most passionate is the right to die. He is very much against it.
In 2009, Gorsuch published The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, in which he presents a case against the practice of assisted suicide for those who are terminally ill. It’s not exactly the most mainstream issue on the voting block — it’s questionable whether the topic would even come up in a confirmation hearing — but Gorsuch no doubt feels strongly about it.
For advocates of expanding the right to die beyond states where it is currently legal, this will certainly be cause for concern. Even though it’s not necessarily in the public eye, it would not at all be surprising if this issue was to arise in court within the next few years, certainly sometime during Gorsuch’s tenure, as he is only 49. It’s already clear how he would rule if such a case were to reach him.
Gorsuch also argues in an article for the Wisconsin Law Review, that legitimizing the right to die would open the door for “additional non-consensual killings due to abuse, mistake, and coercion” as well as forms of “discrimination” against the elderly. Overall, his argument against the right to die is based on “the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”
Ironically, though, Gorsuch does appear to grant himself an exception from his own rule. On cases involving the death penalty, he’s been more than friendly to the practice of executing criminals and has mostly resisted granting exemptions for those who have been sentenced.