Oregon v. Gonzales
On November 7, 2001, Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers sued then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to invalidate the so-called 'Ashcroft Directive', which effectively preempts the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. The Act, passed by Oregon voters in 1994, establishes comprehensive procedures by which competent, terminally-ill adults may obtain a prescription for the purpose of hastening their death.
Attorney General Ashcroft issued his directive on November, 6, 2001. The directive declares that "assisting suicide is not a 'legitimate medical purpose'" within the federal Controlled Substances Act. It further states that physicians or pharmacists acting in compliance with the Oregon Act are subject to suspension or revocation.
On April 17, 2002, U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones enjoined the Ashcroft Directive. Jones' decision was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 26, 2005. The case is scheduled for oral argument in the United States Supreme Court on October 5, 2005. Assistant Attorney General Robert Atkinson will argue the case for the state of Oregon.