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Court rejects bid to overturn Oregon's assisted-suicide law

The Supreme Court, which ruled in June that terminally ill Americans have no constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide, on Tuesday rejected a challenge to an Oregon measure that legalizes such help.

The justices, without comment, refused to revive a lawsuit filed by a terminally ill woman and two doctors. A federal appeals court threw out the case after ruling that the three lacked the proper legal standing to sue.Tuesday's action, although not a decision that sets any precedent, clears the way for Oregon's assisted-suicide law to take effect - at least for a short time.

Oregon voters in 1994 passed a referendum allowing doctors to help mentally competent but terminally ill patients end their lives. The initiative, however, never has taken effect because of court challenges.

The Legislature has put the measure on this year's ballot, and voters will be asked in November whether they want to repeal the Death With Dignity Act, also known as Measure 16.

In other action Tuesday, the court:

- Turned away arguments by California officials who sought to revive a term-limits law that barred former legislators from ever seeking the same office. The appeal acted on today had been filed before an appns f, court struck down the law last week. The state officials are free to file a new appeal.

- In a dispute driven by deadbeat debtors, justices left intact a fee imposed on a federally chartered corporation that finances government-guaranteed loans f, but most states have joined New York and Washington in outlawing it.

- Agreed to decide whether a federal law intended to speed the pace of executions limits claims by death-row inmates that they are too insane to be put to death. The court said it will hear Arizona prosecutors' arguments that a death row inmate unfairly was given a new chance to argue that he is not mentally competent to be executed.