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COURT MUST FACE UP TO AIDS ISSUE

SHARE COURT MUST FACE UP TO AIDS ISSUE

About 40,000 people die annually of AIDS in the United States, but the Supreme Court doesn't seem to have noticed.

Since 1989 the court has been presented with six cases involving issues central to the AIDS epidemic, and it has refused to consider all six.Each of the cases presented significant federal questions.

These issues did not go away when the Supreme Court chose to ignore them. Just as in the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan refused to talk about the AIDS epidemic, federal inaction is promoting ignorance about the disease and increasing the suffering of the afflicted.

. . . the court's rules expressly provide for circumstances in which "an important question of federal law" should be settled. In other words, cases of great national interest ought to be heard.

If the AIDS epidemic presents one of the most important challenges of our time, and if there are numerous federal statutory and constitutional questions associated with HIV, shouldn't the court hear one of them?