No. 96-110.

521 U.S. 702 (1997)

117 S.Ct. 2258

138 L.Ed.2d 772


Supreme Court of United States.

Decided June 26, 1997.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

William L. Williams, Senior Assistant Attorney General of Washington, argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs were Christine O. Gregoire, Attorney General, and William Berggren Collins, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Acting Solicitor General Dellinger argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Hunger, Deputy Solicitor General Waxman, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Preston, Irving L. Gornstein, and Barbara C. Biddle.

Kathryn L. Tucker argued the cause for respondents. With her on the brief were David J. Burman, Kari Anne Smith, and Laurence H. Tribe.*

Rehnquist, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. O'Connor, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Ginsburg and Breyer, JJ., joined in part, p. 736. Stevens, J., p. 738, Souter, J., p. 752, Ginsburg, J., p. 789, and Breyer, J., p. 789, filed opinions concurring in the judgment.

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented in this case is whether Washington's prohibition against "caus[ing]" or "aid[ing]" a suicide offends the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We hold that it does not.

It has always been a crime to assist a suicide in the State of Washington. In 1854, Washington's first Territorial...

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