Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Near and Dear to Their Hearts?

Today the Supreme Court hears oral arguments regarding Gonzales v. Oregon, the case challenging Oregon's assisted suicide law. This AP article departs from the typical new story by describing how the justices have been affected by serious or terminal illness:

"The case, the first major one to come before the new chief justice, John Roberts, will be heard by justices touched personally by illness. Three justices — Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens — have had cancer, and a fourth — Stephen Breyer — has a spouse who counsels young cancer patients who are dying.

Their longtime colleague, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who once wrote about the "earnest and profound debate" over doctor-assisted suicide, died a month ago after battling untreatable cancer for nearly a year."

I wonder how these brushes with mortality have affected their views too.