DEATH'S DOOR LEFT AJAR

THE JUSTICES DENY A SWEEPING RIGHT TO ASSISTED SUICIDE BUT MIGHT ENTERTAIN MORE MODEST CLAIMS

Linda Jewell was just waking up on Thursday in Edmonds, Wash., when she heard the news. The radio announced that the Supreme Court had sustained a Washington State law forbidding the terminally ill from enlisting doctors' help in committing suicide. Jewell, 58, who has advanced ovarian cancer and an aversion to a bedridden, IV-tubed future, was bitterly dismayed. "I felt a heaviness in my heart," she says. "I've always been a law-abiding citizen, but I think this is a moral right."

At first hearing, the court's dual, unanimous decisions on assisted suicide (the second addressed a New York case) constituted a...

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