NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A lawsuit by well-known Nashville attorney and activist John Jay Hooker over death with dignity has been dismissed.
Hooker, who has been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, filed a lawsuit challenging the state law that makes it a felony to assist in suicide.
Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy dismissed the suit, claiming Hooker does not have legal standing to bring the action.
“They’ve got no right to tell me that, in my pursuit of my own peace and happiness, I can’t take my own life,” Hooker told News 2 after the ruling.
Hooker, 85, was once the Tennessee democratic gubernatorial nominee. He’s taken on lots of fights. This one might be his last.
“When the time comes and I’m in that bed, I have tears in my eyes, I’m hurting all over and I know I’m going to die, everyone is standing around feeling sorry for me and I’m feeling sorry for myself, I want the doctor to be able to give me a pill so I can die with a smile on my face instead of the tears in my eyes.”
Hooker plans to appeal the decision and, if necessary, take it all the way to U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’m shaking my fist until the day I die,” said Hooker.
The pro-life organization Tennessee Right to Life issued the following statement praising Tuesday’s ruling:
Chancellor McCoy is to be commended for refusing to enjoin laws duly enacted by the people and their elected officials and for recognizing that such statutes do not violate the Tennessee Constitution,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “Terminally ill persons deserve full care and pain relief, not a prescription for an early death. Tennessee’s law strikes a careful and compassionate balance in ensuring that basic safeguards for human life are in place and honored.