Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Schiavo case: Bush and Congress trample on science and the Constitution

By Patrick Martin
23 March 2005

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The case of Terri Schiavo seems likely to return to the US capital within days, either in the form of an appeal to the Supreme Court or a further effort by the congressional Republican leadership and the Bush administration to impose an outright legal ban on disconnecting the severely brain-damaged woman from life support.

The unprecedented federal intervention in the case did not produce the immediate outcome desired by the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who have spearheaded the “Save Terri” campaign. Federal District Judge James Whittemore denied the plea by lawyers for Robert and Mary Schindler, Schiavo’s parents, for an emergency order to restore her feeding tube.

In a decision issued early Tuesday, Whittemore ruled in favor of Schiavo’s husband Michael. He has sought the termination of life support for his wife, who has had no brain function for 15 years. Florida state courts have repeatedly ruled that Michael Schiavo had the right, as her legal guardian, to make that decision, and that Terri Schiavo herself would have agreed, based on her statements to her husband and to two other witnesses before the heart attack that plunged her into a permanent vegetative state.

The Schindlers’ attorneys immediately filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Whatever the decision of that court, the losing side is sure to file a further appeal to the US Supreme Court.

In their brief filed in federal court Monday, the attorneys for the Schindlers made three basic arguments: that Terri Schiavo had been denied “a fair and impartial trial” by Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George Greer; that she was denied due process of law because Greer did not “appoint an independent attorney” to represent her, allowing her husband Michael to act as her guardian; and that Schiavo’s right to religious freedom was denied because withdrawal of the feeding tube is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church, in which Schiavo was raised.

All three arguments are without legal foundation. Terri Schiavo’s is the most intensively litigated “right-to-die” case in US history, with proceedings in 18 courts over the last seven years. Every judicial decision has upheld the position of Michael Schiavo. As for an impartial advocate, Terri Schiavo had several independent guardians appointed in the course of these myriad court suits and hearings, all of whom came to the same conclusion as her husband: that she was irreversibly brain-damaged and would not have wanted to continue such an existence.

The third argument, religious freedom, is bad law and ludicrous theology. Citing the authority of the Pope in Rome is a legal novelty, especially for political allies of an administration that rejects international law and openly defies the authority of such tribunals as the International Criminal Court, on the grounds that US institutions must give no heed to foreigners.

Schiavo was not particularly devout in her Catholicism—like many, she maintained a nominal affiliation but did not go to church regularly. As for the claim that withdrawing the feeding tube would implicate her in a mortal sin and “jeopardize her immortal soul,” this is advanced purely for the sake of provoking hysteria among the most credulous and conservative Catholics. Even the hidebound Roman Church does not regard a person in a vegetative state as responsible for what is done to her.

Link...A deeply unpopular intervention


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