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Baxter v. Montana

Montana Supreme Court
354 Mont. 234, 224 P.3d 1211 (2009)


Robert Baxter (plaintiff), who suffered from a terminal illness, and others filed suit against the State of Montana (the State) (defendant), challenging the constitutionality of the state’s homicide statutes as applied to physicians who provide aid in dying to mentally competent, terminally ill patients. Baxter was in persistent and significant pain. Consequently, Baxter wanted the option of ingesting a lethal dose of medication prescribed by his physician at a time of his choosing. Baxter’s suit alleged that terminally ill patients had a right to die with dignity under the Montana Constitution, Article II, Sections 4 and 10, which address individual dignity and privacy. The trial court agreed and granted Baxter’s motion for summary judgment. The State appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Leaphart, J.)

Concurrence (Nelson, J.)

Dissent (Rice, J.)

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