Monday, February 16, 2004

It's good to see the Justice Department keeping up with changing times. As they do here, arguing in proceedings related to the new abortion law that:

Citing federal case law, the department said in a brief that "there is no federal common law" protecting physician-patient privilege. In light of "modern medical practice" and the growth of third-party insurers, it said, "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."

They're pursuing this sort of case in multiple jurisdictions, by the way, with varying results. The judge in New York is sympathetic, saying in open court that he will not "let the doctors stand behind the shield of the hospital", and is "fed up with stalls and delays". Too bad his colleague in Chicago is such a stick-in-the-mud, who still feels that records about abortion deserve to be protected by some kind of -- what would you call it? -- doctor-patient privilege.

It's too bad that Democrats are holding up judicial appointments in the Senate -- not all of them, but just the ones who are most likely to exemplify the kind of forward-looking thinking shown so well by Judge Casey of New York.

via Crooked Timber.


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