In re Quinlan


Please read In re Quinlan carefully and consider the following questions for discussion. You need not answer them all in the same posting. What was Karen’s condition at the time the court considered her father’s position to become guardian and remove life support? The court spent a good deal of time discussing Joseph Quinlan’s religious beliefs and his moral character. Why do you think they spent so much time considering these issues? What did the Catholic Bishops feel should be done? What did the court say about free exercise of religion here? Did the court feel that cruel and unusual punishment applied to this case? The court considered extensively a right to privacy: First, what did they say about Karen’s rights? How did the court think she would probably feel about the issue if she had the decision? What were the State’s interests in this case? The court held here a sliding time frame for when the individual’s privacy rights begin to overwhelm the state’s interests. What is that time frame? What did the court ultimately decide in this case? Do you think it was a good decision?

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