Washington vs. Glucksberg

Home Case Brief Washington vs. Glucksberg
Washington vs. Glucksberg

Case Title and Citation:

Washington vs. Glucksberg

(Petitioner) Washington State and the Legal Representative v. Respondents Harold Gluksberg, M.D., Abigail Halperin, M.D., Thomas A. Preston, M.D., and Peter Shalit, M.D., medical doctors who work in the State of Washington. 521 U.S. 702 (1997).

Procedural History:

In January 1994, the respondents mentioned above and plaintiffs, who have already passed away, as well as a non-organization that counsels individuals inclined to physician-assisted suicide sued in the U.S district court seeking a declaration on Wash Rev. Code 9A.36.060 (1) (1994) as unconstitutional. Apparently, the Neighborhood Court concluded that Washington-supported suicide prohibition is unauthorized as it places an unwarranted restriction on the practice of constitutionally protected independence awareness (Glucksberg, 1998). As a result, the Ninth Track regarded the issue en banc and confirmed the District Court’s decision. Fundamentally, it was decided that the state’s death-assisted prohibition was illegal.

Need Custom Written Paper? We'll Write an essay from scratch according to your instructions
Plagiarism Free
Prices From Only $11.99/Page
Order now


It is a crime to help individuals take part in a suicide-related issue in the state of Washington as per the Constitution. The dispute at hand is that the petitioners assume that they should be allowed to practice the contents of physician-assisted suicide, and the ban on their practice is unconstitutional. They take for granted that the independent choice guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, in this case, consists of individual verdicts by a sensitively able, fatally sick adult to undergo a physician-assisted death. It is interesting that the court concurred with the plaintiff’s perspective (Carmichael, 2010). The court indicated that the prohibition brings about an unwarranted challenge on the practice of the established and supported liberation of significance.


The challenge talked about by the court is related to the parties concerned; in fact, the policy of supporting suicide is not innovative, but somewhat steady approach of the state’s pledge to protect and safeguard the human life. The court highlighted its point by illustrating how Anglo-American community conventionally has disciplined and opposed both forced death and assisted suicide perceptions in the state of Washington. In spite of the fact that Americans have put into consideration strategies in medicinal expertise and the increased significance of end-of-life decision-making, the rule still claims that it is unauthorized to take one’s life (Glucksberg, 1998). Significantly, the issue being discussed is apparently crucial for the Washington residents as it entails protecting their rights as human beings.

Free Extras
  • FREE revision (within 2 days)
  • FREE title page
  • FREE bibliography
  • FREE outline (on request)
  • FREE e-mail delivery
  • FREE formatting
We Guarantee
  • Quality research and writing
  • 24/7/365 Live support
  • MA, BA, and PhD degree writers
  • 100% Confidentiality
  • No hidden charges
  • No AI-written content
  • Complete Authenticity
Paper Format
  • 12 pt. Times New Roman
  • Double-spaced/Single-spaced papers
  • 1 inch margins
  • Any citation style
  • Up-to-date sources only
  • Fully referenced papers

Ruling Reasoning:

The Court’s conclusion considered that the account of the law’s management of the supported death is a kind of the negative answer to virtually all ways to sanction it. The conclusion stated that the “right” to support assisted death is not a noteworthy liberation concern that is taken care of by the Due Process Clause. The court added to their decision that Washington’s ban on the assisted suicide should be associated with legitimate government needs. Apparently, Washington practices what incriminates several state interests. Some of the interests that were taken into consideration while concluding the case were defending family life and the loved ones, taking care of life, shielding the honor of the medical line of work, and restricting the outlook movement toward euthanasia (Carmichael, 2010). Fundamentally, the verdict of the ”en banc Court of Appeal” was overturned, and the case was held for further experience reliable with the vision: “It is ordered.”

Dissenting or Concurring Opinion


In this case, Justice Souter based on Justice Harlan’s opinion in Poe v. Ullman queried if Washington decree comes up with one of those random obligations concerning the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was concluded that the approach outlining the “liberty” area of expertise protected by the Fourteenth Amendment was, in fact, never put into effect. The suggestion was based on the view that it supports the biased elements in the due procedure of legal evaluation (Glucksberg, 1998).

Struggling with your essay?
Ask professionals to help you!


Justice O’Connor actually agreed that there is a lack of a comprehensive right to commit suicide; hence, there is no reason to address the issue of a mentally competent person undergoing pain making the decision to die. Justice Stevens also concurred that the Washington law that prohibits assisted suicide is on the right track; thus, it is appropriate to practice its contents. Justice Ginsburg agreed with the decision made by the court by supporting the responses made by Justice O’Connor’s point of view. Justice Breyer agreed with the ruling on the perspective that Justice O’Connor is right because the process of undergoing an assisted suicide consists of physical suffering (Carmichael, 2010). The court describes the issue as a “right to obligate forced death with another’s support”, but Breyer enumerates that he would not refuse the respondent’s assertion in the non-attendance of a dissimilar approach that the officially permitted custom would produce a better support.

You can ask us “write my case brief” on this or any other topic at Essay-Online-Shop.com. Don’t waste your time, order now!
Order Essay with this Title

Additionally, he also concludes that the court might end up reconsidering its conclusions in similar cases in future to come up with decisions that are comprehensible to the citizens of Washington. Justice Souter also agreed with the ruling comparing it to the standard law contents. Souter also adds up that the legal appraisal, as opposed to the official legislative, is a court’s dealing. The assumptions made by Souter imply that if a person sues against the Washington Statute, then he/she can be perceived to have a constitutional right to do that (Glucksberg, 1998). The implication here is that the judges agree with the perception that it is unconstitutional in Washington to practice the contents of assisted suicide.