1994 Oregonians approve Measure 16, the nation's first law permitting physician-assisted suicide. A U.S. District Court judge prevents it from going into effect, calling it unconstitutional.
1997 President Clinton signs legislation barring use of federal money for physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia.
1997 The Supreme Court finds that the terminally ill have no constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide, but the court leaves room for state-by-state experimentation on the subject.
Oct. 27, 1997 Oregon's Death with Dignity Act takes effect when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifts injunction that had blocked the law's implementation.
Nov. 4, 1997 Oregon voters reject proposed repeal of law.
Nov. 5, 1997 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says federal law can be used to penalize doctors who prescribe controlled drugs for use in assisted suicide.
April 2, 1998 U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno reverses DEA position. Legislation in Congress to block the Oregon law eventually falters.
Nov. 6, 2001 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says assisted suicide is not legitimate medicine and that he would use the Controlled Substances Act to punish doctors who prescribe federally controlled drugs to help terminally ill patients die.
Nov. 7, 2001 Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers files a lawsuit in federal court seeking to prevent the federal government from shutting down the assisted-suicide law.
Nov. 8, 2001 U.S. District Judge Robert Jones issues a 10-day stay barring implementation of Ashcroft order and later that month, extends it to four months.
Feb. 21, 2002 Ashcroft appeals Jones' ruling.
April 17, 2002 Judge Jones places permanent injunction on Ashcroft directive.
Sept. 23, 2002 Ashcroft appeals Jones' ruling to 9th Circuit Court.
May 26, 2004 9th Circuit orders Bush administration not to meddle with Oregon's law.
Feb. 26, 2005 The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments on the law.
Oct. 5, 2005 Arguments heard in Supreme Court.
Jan. 17, 2005 The Supreme Court upholds Oregon's law.