Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo - A Roundup of News & Commentary

As you know by now, President Bush Signs Law to Save Terri Schiavo - Case Before Federal Court March 21, 2005. Following is a roundup of related commentary . . .
  • Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life -- who, according to Catholic News Service usually doesn't comment on cases currently before the courts -- makes an exception on grounds that "silence in this case could be interpreted as approval":

    "The removal of the gastric tube used for nourishing her cannot be considered an 'extraordinary' measure or a therapeutic measure," he said. "It is an essential part of the way in which Mrs. Terri Schiavo is nourished and hydrated.

    "As far as we are concerned, denying someone access to food and water is a cruel way of killing someone," he said.

  • The AAPS, or Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, insists that Schindler-Schiavo is NOT a "death with dignity" issue, asking: "She is not dependent on advanced medical interventions. Nothing is mechanically beating her heart, or forcing oxygen into her lungs. She is simply being fed through a gastrostomy tube. Would we allow a retarded child to be starved to death?" (via Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

  • The Washington Post reported yesterday on an anonymous memo relating to the Terri Schiavo case that allegedly was sent to all of the Republicans in the Senate. ABC News apparently obtained a copy of the memo, and gave it to the Post. Powerline wonders if this is the biggest hoax since RatherGate?: "It does not sound like something written by a conservative; it sounds like a liberal fantasy of how conservatives talk."

  • "Right-to-Life Hypocrisy, or Blogger Illiteracy?" @ Just One Minute. The Terri Schiavo case is being compared to two other recent medical cases in Texas, or what Michelle Malkin calls the "the blame-Bush-for-killing-patients-for-money" meme. Tom Maguire takes a look at the facts.

  • After the passing of the Schiavo bill, Andrew C. McCarthy has Lingering Questions, and reminds us:

    in an age where more and more people get their news from television, and in the most fleeting of snatches, the language battle is more important than ever. It also remains the one thing the mainstream media still dominates. After watching the coverage over the weekend and the House debate last night, we should be very troubled by terms like life support, brain dead, and recover. . . .

    And wonders as well:

    Regardless of what one thinks of the evidence developed and the procedures followed in the Florida courts, how is a judge empowered, ever, to order or license torture? Let's hope the federal court asks.

    (See also Andrew C. McCarthy's Is Prosecution the Solution?, in which he ponders the question posed on the Corner: "If somebody put a pistol to [Terri] Schiavo's head and pulled the trigger--you know, to give the 'dying process' a little nudge--would the shooter be guilty of murder under Florida law?"

  • "Terri's death wish or Michael's?" World Net Daily. March 20, 2005. Michael Schiavo blatantly contradicts himself in an interview with Larry King on CNN:

    Shortly after saying his determination to end Terri's life was about her wishes, Schiavo changed his story in the King interview. Asked if he understood her family's feelings, he said: "Yes, I do. But this is not about them, it's about Terri. And I've also said that in court. We didn't know what Terri wanted, but this is what we want. . . . "

    (Full Transcript):

  • Mark R. Levin @ The Corner:

    What really offends the Left is Congress asserting its constitutional power over a court, and not in service to the liberal agenda. Article III specifically empowers Congress to determine the jurisdiction of the federal courts, which is all it did today. It authorized a federal court to determine whether Terri Schiavo's due process rights and the right not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment were properly protected by a state court. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decided on its own that abortion was a federal question, not to be left to the states, without any constitutional basis whatsoever. It preempted every state court and legislature (and Congress, for that matter). And the Left celebrates this decision.

    As for why Congress is acting here, as opposed to any other case with overlapping issues, I suppose that question could be asked whenever Congress acts. The Schiavo case has risen to national attention. So, Congress is responding. That's how representative government works.

  • "Always to Care, Never to Kill": Terri Schiavo and the right to life National Review Online [NRO] -- Robert P. George, McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, weighs in the legal and moral issues involved, and the question "How should we go about thinking about the circumstances under which it is morally permissible to refuse medical treatment?"

  • "Terri Schiavo and the Law" Wall Street Journal March 21, 2005:

    We'd have more sympathy for this argument if the same liberals who are complaining about the possibility of the federal courts reviewing Mrs. Schiavo's case felt as strongly about restraining the federal judiciary when it comes to abortion, homosexuality, and other social issues they don't want to trust to local communities. In any event, these critics betray their lack of understanding of the meaning of federalism. It is not simply about "states' rights." Conservatives support states' rights in areas that are not delegated to the federal government but they also support federal power in areas that are delegated.

    Think of an analogy to the writ of habeas corpus. As John Eastman of the Claremont Institute points out, "We have federal court review of state court judgments all the time in the criminal law context." The bill before Congress essentially treats the Florida judgment as a death sentence, warranting federal habeas review. Mrs. Schiavo is not on life support. The court order to remove the feeding tube is an order to starve her to death. Moreover, Mrs. Schiavo is arguably being deprived of her life without due process of law, a violation of the 14th Amendment that Congress has the power to address.

    The "right to die" has become another liberal cause, part of the "privacy" canon that extends through Roe (abortion) and Lawrence (homosexuality) and the Ninth Circuit's views on assisted suicide that the Supreme Court is taking up this year. Of course, it gets a little messy when someone is actually being killed, and a husband with a conflict of interest is the one who claims she wanted to kill herself, but the left apparently believes these are mere details that shouldn't interfere with the broader cause. Thus the discovery of federalism.

Update Judge Won't Order Schiavo Tube Reinserted AP Press, March 22, 2005.

And so it continues.

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