Kathryn Tucker

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For other people named Katherine Tucker, see Katherine Tucker (disambiguation).
Kathryn Tucker

Kathryn Tucker (born 1959) is the executive director for the Disability Rights Legal Center.[1] She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985 and Hampshire College in 1981. Tucker has been an adjunct law professor at Lewis and Clark School of Law, Seattle University and the University of Washington. Beginning in 1990, while an attorney at the Seattle firm of Perkins Coie, she did pro bono work for Washington Citizens for Death with Dignity, which led her into the aid-in-dying movement.

As legal director of Compassion & Choices in 1997 Tucker argued Washington v. Glucksberg before the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to establish a federal constitutional right to choose aid in dying; the Court referred the issue to the states. The Glucksberg case is widely recognized as prompting widespread effort to improve end of life care. Tucker successfully defended the Oregon Death with Dignity Act from attacks from the federal legislature and the U.S. Department of Justice. She represented terminally ill Oregonians challenging the law by former United States Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, in Oregon v. Gonzales. The Oregon law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

Tucker was a lead author of a California law requiring pain management education for physicians, which passed in 2001. Tucker defends physicians who face prosecution for adequate pain management. She has published numerous articles on end-of-life issues in law, medicine and health policy journals.


  • "Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make, Chapter Author:Empowering Patients at the End of Life: Law, Advocacy, Policy" Rutgers University Press (2009)
  • "The Campaign to Deny Terminally Ill Patients Information and Choices at the End of Life" 30 Journal of Legal Medicine 495 (2009)
  • "Empowering Terminally Ill Cancer Patients with the Option of Aid in Dying" Oncology Issues pp. 8–11(November–December (2009)
  • "State of Washington, Third State to Permit Aid in Dying" Journal of Palliative Medicine Vol. 12, No 7, pp 583–584(2009)
  • "At the Very End of Life: The Emergence of Policy Supporting Aid in Dying Among Mainstream Medical and Health Policy Associations" Harvard Health Policy Review Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 45–47 (2009)
  • "Ensuring Informed End-of-Life Decisions" Journal of Palliative Medicine Vol. 12, No 2., pp 119–120 (2009)
  • "The Washington State Death with Dignity Act" National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Journal Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 12–17 (2009)
  • "The “Medical Right”: Impact on End-of-Life Care" SSRN, available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1168043 (2008)
  • "In the Laboratory of the States: The Progress of Glucksberg’s Invitation to States to Address End of Life Choice," Michigan Law Review (2008)
  • "Patient Choice at the End of Life: Getting the Language Right," 28 Journal of Legal Medicine 305-325 (2007)
  • "Privacy and Dignity at the End of Life: Protecting the Right of Montanans to Choose Aid in Dying," 68 Montana Law Review 317-333 (2007)
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Preserves Oregon’s Landmark Death with Dignity Law," NAELA Journal, Volume II, No. II, pp 291–301 (2006)
  • "Federalism in the Context of Assisted Dying: Time for the Laboratory to Extend beyond Oregon, to the Neighboring State of California". Willamette Law Review. 41: 863. 2005. 
  • "Medico-Legal Case Report and Commentary: Inadequate Pain Management in the Context of Terminal Cancer - The Case of Lester Tomlinson," 5 Pain Medicine 214-217 (June 2004)
  • "End of Life Care, a Human Rights Issue," 30 Human Rights 11 (2003)
  • "A Piece of the Puzzle: Bringing Accountability to Failure to Treat Pain Adequately," 6 Journal of Palliative Medicine 615-617 (2003)
  • "A New Risk Emerges: Provider Accountability for Inadequate Treatment of Pain," 9 Annals of Long-Term Care 52-56 (2001)
  • "Improving Pain Care: A Safe Harbor is Not Enough," 11 Health Law 15 (1999)
  • "Treatment of Pain in Dying Patients," 338 New England Journal of Medicine 1231 (1998); 339 New England Journal of Medicine 705 (1998)
  • "The Death with Dignity Movement: Protecting Rights and Expanding Options after Glucksberg and Quill," 82 Minnesota Law Review 923 (1998)