Establishing New Rights: A Look at Aid in Dying

Saturday, September 23, 2017
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
UNM School of Law, 1117 Stanford Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided!

 This program has been approved by the New Mexico Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board for 5.5 General hours of credit. CLE is provided FREE to those who RSVP.


State legislatures and supreme courts throughout the country are confronting the controversial subject of aid in dying. State judiciaries are further faced with the issue of interpreting unique constitutional clauses and deciding whether those clauses provide for greater rights, such as the right to die.

The New Mexico Supreme Court was one of the latest to address the issue in Morris v. Brandenburg. In 2015, the New Mexico Court of Appeals, in a divided opinion, overturned a district court’s ruling that physician-assisted dying is a fundamental right under the state Constitution. In 2016, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the court of appeals opinion, proclaiming that that the matter should be resolved in the executive and legislative branches. This year, the NM Senate rejected SB 252, a bill that would have allowed physician-assisted dying.

In this Symposium, national scholars and local experts will explore aid in dying from medical and legal perspectives, the background of Morris v. Brandenburg, and how other states have tried or succeeded in legalizing aid in dying. The Symposium will also focus on the issue of using state supreme courts and constitutions to create rights that do not currently exist on a national level.

The Symposium is presented by the New Mexico Law Review, a student-run, general legal journal published two times a year. Many Symposium speakers will contribute essays based on their talks for a special issue to be published in Spring 2018.

Early registration is strongly recommended.

The Symposium is designed to foster dialogue among those most closely connected to the issues of the role of the judiciary and state constitutions and/or teaching in these matters, but is also free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Law School “L” parking lot except in metered spaces. The lot has a few spaces for handicapped parking.

Erwin Chemerinsky

Keynote Luncheon Speaker: Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, will provide the keynote address on the history of state constitutions in providing civil rights.

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles W. Daniels will present on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s history of interpreting its constitution to establish civil liberties.

Panels comprised of New Mexico judges and legal experts will discuss the topics of Aid in Dying and the role of state judiciaries.

Learn more about Erwin Chemerinksy