Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health

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					          Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health

       U.S. Supreme Court
              1990
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
Illustration
This case shows how courts interpret the
application of the U.S. Constitution to
matters that are heard by State Courts.
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health


Facts
Nancy Cruzan had an automobile accident and is
in the hospital in a “persistent vegetative state.”
Her parents ask the hospital to “terminate artificial
nutrition and hydration procedures.” The hospital
responds that they cannot do it without a court
order.
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
Prior Proceedings
Nancy’s parents seek a court order in a
Missouri court. That court determines: a)
permanent brain damage, b) a fundamental
right under state and federal constitutions to
refuse or direct the withdrawal of “death
prolonging procedures.” and c) Nancy had
expressed wishes not to be maintained . . .
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
In a persistent vegetative state to a
roommate prior to the accident. Missouri
court grants permission to remove support.
The Missouri Dept. of Health appeals to the
Supreme Court of Missouri and they reverse
the lower court. The Cruzans appeal to the
U.S. Supreme Court and they grant
certiorari.
Diagramming the Case History
         U.S. Supreme Court
        Cruzan      M.D.H.


       Missouri Supreme Court
        M.D.H.      Cruzan



        Missouri Probate Court
        Cruzan M.D.H.
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
Issue
Does Missouri’s requirement of “clear and
convincing evidence” of an incompetent’s
wishes violate the U.S. Constitution?
Holding
NO
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
Rationale
Medical procedures require consent. USSC
decided In Re: Quinlan that the “right to
privacy” forbids unwanted treatments.
Personal rights must be balanced with
legitimate state interests. Incompetent
person cannot make “right to liberty”
choices. The “clear and convincing” rule . .
Cruzan v.
Missouri Department of Health
Is the state’s attempt to prevent abuse.
States need not consider “quality of life
issues.” A wrong choice to terminate
cannot be undone. Missouri S.C. did not
find “clear & convincing” (a new standard)
evidence. The decision of the Missouri trial
court is reversed.

				
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posted:9/30/2011
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