“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world,” Canuto says. “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.” Why archeologists hate Indiana Jones
. Also, why doctors don't like medical dramas
; what is inaccurate about TV portrayals of lawyers and the legal process
(PDF); and, finally, the terrific analysis of the portrayal of academics in children's books
. When your profession is portrayed on TV, what do they get wrong
Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel. [more inside]
"India's supreme court has ruled against Swiss drug giant Novartis in a landmark case
that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs in developing nations." [more inside]
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings
in what's likely the most momentous
Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore
: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law
. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate
, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate
that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision
before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice
could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible
. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning
by swing justice Anthony Kennedy
and his fellow conservatives [transcript
], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble
, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck"
for the administration. But it's far from a done deal
, with a third day
of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights
has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf
and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map
in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
Ross Capicchioni's story - Parts 1
- contains violent descriptions
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead.
The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive
A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court.
Earlier this month, the UK Crown Prosecution Service issued a guidance
on "shaken baby"
allegations. Emily Bazelon
looks at the medical and legal gray areas in US prosecutions in this week's New York Times Magazine.
An editorial last fall by law professor Deborah Turkheimer here
touched on her own research into the issue [PDF],
which she calls "the next Innocence Project;" it was met with some controversy
by medical professionals.
In response to an incest case
in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children
with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration
of pedophiles mandatory
in certain cases
. [more inside]
A simple question shows how complex the issue is.
Chris at "Cynical C" asks his fellow citizens where they get thier health care (insurance) from and the incredible diversity of the current options and situations is immediately apparent. Quite spontaneously (but surely not unexpectedly), the question of "How much does it cost you?" becomes an essential part of the answers. Outsiders opine and tell stories and commiserate. [more inside]
Richard Paey Speaks
- An interview with the paraplegic man sentenced
to 25 years in prison for treating his own pain, but now out after a full pardon by the Florida Governor. [more inside]
was a former concert pianist and systems analyst who suffered from an autoimmune disease similar to lupus for over 20 years. The disease left her in constant pain
and made her allergic to most pharmaceutical painkillers. Only medical marijuana brought her relief, but last spring the DEA seized her medicine. Unable to cope with the chronic pain any longer, she committed suicide
on October 18th
. [Via Andrew Sullivan.]
U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits.
"Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
An excellent example of the consequences of the Supreme Court's Gonzales v. Raich
decision: today the United States House of Representatives voted down
a bill which would have prohibited the DEA from targeting State-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Almost simultaneously, the DEA raided 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles
Recognizing Pain Management
as a Fundamental Human Right
. These pieces from the journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society
argue that under-treated chronic pain
is becoming a public health crisis which must be addressed. But a warning to pain doctors in the U.S. who prescribe opioids
in doses that seem high to narcotics agents and prosecutors: “Be afraid.” [Via Hit & Run and TalkLeft.]
Death by firing squad is imminent
) for a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting 426 girls and boys at the al-Fatah Hospital in Benghazi with HIV, after having the sentence lifted
a year ago and sent to retrial. Libya stands accused of using the children as diplomatic pawns and torturing confessions
out of the health workers.
Nature has published a series of articles
refuting the dubious evidence provided by Libyan researchers, which many think was concocted to cover up the poor hospital hygiene that likely caused the infections in the first place. [previously]
The Consciometer - What if scientists could precisely measure when life begins and ends?
Common sense, law, medicine, and philosophy have long considered consciousness a central aspect of our moral existence as human beings. Sometime in the next decade or so, neuroscientists will likely identify the specific neural networks and activity that generate the vague but vital thing we call consciousness.
An interesting read from Slate
Conscience Clauses and Health Care
--"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project
feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures
, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
Oregon assisted suicide law upheld.
After declaring his intent to use the Federal Controlled Substances Act to go after doctors who prescribe lethal doses of medication to patients, the AG is faced with a court ruling that "does not prohibit practitioners from prescribing and dispensing controlled substances in compliance with a carefully worded state legislative act." The plot thickens.
Utah Judge Rules Medical Pot is In
via the Utahns for Compassionate Use. "During a preliminary hearing for three patients in Cedar City on Wednesday March 27, 2002 Judge Braithwaite bound patients over for trial and ruled that their medical marijuana arguments do count in a Utah Courtroom even though Utah has different laws than California." My question, of course, is: do you really spell it "Utahns?"