Monday, October 03, 2005


Everyone feel free to keep posting on the urination blog below. This is just a recent development in a couple of continuing Philosofickle threads, so I'm going ahead and post.

I recently wrote about physician assisted suicide (PAS). And I recently wrote about how much I hate when people make ethical arguments based on what they want, not what ethical thinking actually implicates. And now, they've all come back around to tie neatly into each other.

Here's the story:

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will be hearing a case about whether or not Oregon can allow PAS. The case comes up on some more or less technical grounds - basically whether or not the Attorney General has the authority to interpret a federal drug law in such a way that the law prohibits PAS, and thereby invalidate Oregon's law.

The thing is, last year a very similar case came up involving the same federal drug law and California's law allowing medicinal marijuana. 8 members of the court sided against California, and with the Attorney General.

Now, there are some statutory differences between the two, and I won't get into those here. What I want to mention is that Justice O'Connor's dissent said something to the effect of "this is a state law area, and we should let the states be laboratories, so each can figure out what's best for themselves."

So now, in my Bioethics class we're discussing these two cases. And one student approved of applying O'Connor's idea in the PAS case. She writes:

"I am fond of the states-as-laboratories value advanced in Oregon and by O'Connor in her [medical marijuana] dissent, but I am only fond of it to the extent the state law favors a behavior I value."

Basically she says "Don't trouble me with actual Constitutional or ethical reasoning. I'll use them as a front if I have to, but all that really matters is that we get to then end I desire." I'm not sure if I should applaud her honesty or marvel at her ethical incompetence.

I guess if she admits that's what she's doing, I can't really accuse her of intellectual dishonesty. However, I can, and do, accuse her of gross stupidity.

And this is just a prime example of what's wrong with law school. Too many people who "reason" like this lady.

But while I'm on the subject of moron law students, let me just say quickly that Zhubin is one of the few law students who is completely unlike these idiots. I know, I sell/copy his blog here all the time, and I'm doing it again, but it needs to be said. Zhubin is a thinker, and someone with integrity (despite the fact that he's selling out to some big NY law firm). Sad to say, but that's hard to find at law school. So cheers for Zhubin. And a swift kick to the groin for the girl in my class.

Now that's ass backwards
All you got in the refrigerator is bratwurst


dyk said...

Please, please, please tell me that woman wrote that tongue-in-cheek. If not, I weep for the state of our nation, that an individual at one of the most respected institutions in the land would use such a statemtent as though it actually bore some sort of intellectual weight.

And then I marvel at why I worry so about my ability to get out of the Army and find a job in the Twin Cities.
Aah yes, philosophy major.

And to Mr. Zhubin, I'm sure that after two years of Novak you realize what a tremendous compliment has been paid you. You are in extrememly rare company.

Matthew B. Novak said...

No, she was quite serious. Fortunately, despite the fact that she's usually quite chatty in class, she seemed a bit out of her league when we actually had this week's discussion.

And Chris... there's always law school.