Two weeks ago the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest state court, heard oral arguments in Myers v. Schneiderman, the case which End of Life Choices New York initiated to establish aid in dying in New York.
EOLCNY argued that the case had been dismissed prematurely by lower courts. The Court was clearly interested in the issues presented. Although the argument had been scheduled for 30 minutes, the Court allowed the argument to go nearly 50 minutes. Ed Schallert, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, and co-counsel in the case, argued the case for EOLCNY. The Judges peppered the lawyers on both sides with questions, at times even interrupting each other as well as counsel. Click here to see video of the argument.
Wide support for EOLCNY’s position has been demonstrated by a multitude of amicus briefs submitted to the court by diverse parties representing patients and their loved ones; medical, religious and civil liberties organizations; national legal associations; legislators; and a coalition of distinguished professors of law at New York law schools.
A decision from the Court will likely be rendered in the next couple of months. If EOLCNY prevails, the case will be sent back to the trial court for further factual development and then a trial.
EOLCNY seeks a ruling ultimately from the court that mentally competent, terminally ill patients have the right to receive prescribed medications which they can self ingest, if they choose to do so, to end intolerable suffering and achieve a peaceful death. The lawsuit was filed over two years ago by EOLCNY; Judy Schwarz, its Clinical Director; three patients, two of whom have since died; and four doctors.