Withholding Nutrition and Mistrusting Nurturance: The Vocabulary of In re Conroy, 2 Issues L. & Med. 317 (1987)
Words are a lawyer's stock in trade and, as every lawyer knows, words can mislead as much as they can clarify. James Madison, in number thirty-seven of the Federalist Papers, said it best while explaining why the words of the Constitution would inevitably be difficult to interpret. "When the Almighty himself," Madison said, "condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated." Statutes or judicial opinions addressing the "right to die" are also clouded by these doubts, confused as much as illuminated by the language that is available for discussing the subject. The very words used to formulate a question can, moreover, readily contain some impetus, some bias as it were, toward an answer-a bias that not only is unintended but that can ultimately defeat the author's professed initial intention.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Burt, Robert A., "Withholding Nutrition and Mistrusting Nurturance: The Vocabulary of In re Conroy" (1987). Faculty Scholarship Series. 803.