Petitioner Nancy Beth Cruzan was rendered incompetent as a result of severe injuries sustained during an automobile accident. Copetitioners Lester and Joyce Cruzan, Nancy's parents and coguardians, sought a court order directing the withdrawal of their daughter's artificial feeding and hydration equipment after it became apparent that she had virtually no chance of recovering her cognitive faculties. The Supreme Court of Missouri held that, because there was no clear and convincing evidence of Nancy's desire to have life-sustaining treatment withdrawn under such circumstances, her parents lacked authority to effectuate such a request. We granted certiorari, U.
Background[ edit ] On January 11,thenyear-old Nancy Cruzan July 20, - December 26, lost control of her car while driving at nighttime near Carthage, Missouri. She was thrown from the vehicle and landed face-down in a water-filled ditch.
After three weeks in a comashe was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state PVS. In a 4—3 decision, the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the trial court's decision.
It ruled that no one may refuse treatment for another person, absent an adequate living will "or the clear and convincing, inherently reliable evidence absent here. Specifically, the Supreme Court considered whether Missouri was violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by refusing to remove Nancy's feeding tube.
The issue in this case We submit that the Fourteenth Amendment and the liberty guarantee there protects individuals, conscious or unconscious, from such invasion by the state, without any particularized interest for that invasion.
Reflecting the controversiality of the "end of life" issue, five Justices wrote separate opinions about the case. This higher evidentiary standard was constitutional, the Court ruled, because family members might not always make decisions that the incompetent person would have agreed with, and those decisions might lead to actions like withdrawing life support that would be irreversible.
However, in his concurring opinion in Cruzan, Justice Scalia noted that this distinction could be "merely verbal" if death is sought "by starvation instead of a drug. The right to commit suicide, he added, was not a due process right protected in the Constitution.
As legal scholar Susan Stefan writes: The specific problem is: Lacking citations, clarification Please help improve this section if you can. January Learn how and when to remove this template message After the Supreme Court's decision, the Cruzans gathered additional evidence that Nancy would have wanted her life support terminated.
The State of Missouri withdrew from the case in September since its law had been upheld and it had won the larger constitutional issue being considered. On December 14,the feeding tube was removed.
The court denied the petitions. On December 18, nineteen people entered Cruzan's hospital room and tried to reconnect her feeding tube themselves. It set out rules for what was required for a third party to refuse treatment on behalf of an incompetent person. It established that absent a living will or clear and convincing evidence of what the incompetent person would have wanted, the state's interests in preserving life outweigh the individual's rights to refuse treatment.
It left it to the states to determine their own right-to-die standards, rather than creating a uniform national standard. It also generated a great deal of interest in living wills and advance directives.Louisiana Law Review Volume 51|Number 6 July Cruzan v.
Director, Missouri Department of Health: To Die or Not to Die: That is the Question - But Who Decides? View this case and other resources at: Citation.
, S. Ct. , L. Ed. 2d , U.S. Brief Fact Summary.
Nancy Cruzan was. Director, Missouri Department of Health, "in deciding 'a question of such magnitude and importance it is the [better] part of wisdom not to attempt, by any general.
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, U.S. (), was a United States Supreme Court case. It had to do with the right to die. Nancy Cruzan was a woman who was in a persistent vegetative state. Her family wanted to stop life support treatments so she could die.
Director, Missouri Department of Health.
Location Residence of Cruzan. Docket no. Decided by When Cruzan's parents attempted to terminate the life-support system, state hospital officials refused to do so without court approval. "Cruzan by Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health.". Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, U.S.
(), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case involving a young adult incompetent. The first "right to die" case ever heard by the Court, Cruzan was argued on December 6, and decided on June 25,