New York assisted suicide case update

In May 2016, in Myers v. Schneiderman, an intermediate appellate court in New York upheld the constitutionality of New York’s ban on assisted suicide. (I discussed the case in this paper presented at the 2016 University Faculty for Life conference.) The New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state, has agreed to review this decision. The case will be argued on May 30, 2017. Here is a link to the docket in the New York Court of Appeals (just search for Myers v. Schneiderman). The docket provides links to the briefs, including good briefs filed by the New York State Catholic Conference and Not Dead Yet.

There has been in recent years a slow movement towards the legalization of assisted suicide, although this has largely happened outside the courts. It would be a surprise if the New York Court of Appeals were to reverse the lower court ruling and hold New York’s law unconstitutional (under the New York Constitution).  Last summer, the New Mexico Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to New Mexico’s prohibition on assisted suicide. Let’s hope the New York court follows suit.


Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.