These closing words of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor best express the United States Supreme Court’s desire to maintain the states’ responsibility for shaping the law of health care decision making. Indeed, since the 1976 landmark decision in New Jersey regarding Karen Quinlan, most of the formative work has occurred in state courts and legislatures. The Supreme Court prefers to see it continue there, and states have obliged by continuing a veritable legislative frenzy on the topic of health care decision making.
On one level, the law governing patient health care decision making rights is not especially intricate or vast, compared with, for example, tax law or trust and estate law. Yet, cast within the complex interplay of a patient’s personal history, technologically powerful medical care systems, and sociocultural demands, the law reflects a formidable, continuing struggle to find clearer pathways for decision making that are both respectful of personal autonomy and protective of patients’ well-being.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.
DOJ guidance for mentally impaired detainees in immigration removal proceedings should be amended to provide counsel at earlier signs of incompetence.
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.
Labor organizing privilege is not a magic bullet that will secure the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Employers will continue to resist the efforts of their workers to organize.