Last updated on: 8/14/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

David Souter, LLB Biography

Title:
Former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court
Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
Reasoning:

“[Physicians] have compassion, to the wishes of a patient, whether the patient were technically quite responsible or not… Physicians and their hospitals, have their own financial incentives, too, in this new age of managed care. Whether acting from compassion or under some other influence, a physician who would provide a drug for a patient to administer might well go the further step of administering the drug himself; so, the barrier between assisted suicide and euthanasia could become porous, and the line between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia as well. The case for the slippery slope is fairly made out here… because there is a plausible case that the right claimed would not be readily containable by reference to facts about the mind that are matters of difficult judgment, or by gatekeepers who are subject to temptation, noble or not.”

Concurring opinion in Washington v. Glucksberg, June 26, 1997

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
    Experts
Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to end-of-life issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to end-of-life.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Justice, US Supreme Court, Oct. 8, 1990-June 29, 2009
  • Associate Justice, 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, 1990
  • Judge, New Hampshire Supreme Court, 1983-1990
  • Associate Justice, New Hampshire Superior Court, 1978-1983
  • Member, New Hampshire Governor’s Commission of Crime and Delinquency, 1976-1978, 1979-1983
  • Attorney General, New Hampshire, 1976-1978
  • Member, New Hampshire Police Standards Training Council, 1976-1978
  • Deputy Attorney General, New Hampshire, 1971-1976
  • Member, Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Boundary Commission, 1971-1975
  • Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, New Hampshire, 1968-1971
  • Associate Counsel, Orr & Reno, 1966-1968
  • Rhodes Scholar, 1963
Education:
  • LLB, Harvard University, 1966
  • MA, Jurisprudence, Oxford University, 1963
  • AB, Jurisprudence, Oxford University, 1963
  • AB, Harvard College, 1961
Other:
  • Born in Melrose, MA on Sep. 17, 1939