Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Jerry Simich

Number of Pages



In Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg, the Supreme Court ruled that laws in New York and Washington prohibiting physician-assisted suicide violated neither the Due Process nor the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court overturned decisions from the Second and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. The Court stated these decisions do not prevent a state from enacting legislation approving assisted suicide, but there is no protection of such under the Constitution. This thesis examines the legal reasoning used by the two Courts of Appeal in their decisions and the Supreme Court in its decision. There is a review of the three critical precedent-establishing cases and some of the amicus briefs submitted. The final section will focus on the States, primarily Oregon, where after two elections and a lengthy legal battle citizens legalized physician-assisted suicide, as well as various proposals for state control of physician-assisted suicide.


Assisted; Courts; Leave; Physician; States; Suicide

Controlled Subject

Political science; Law; Medicine

File Format


File Size

3368.96 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


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