It's time to talk about the Schiavo case.
As with the Eason Jordan scenario, I wasn't that interested in it. I initially thought it was a simple euthanasia case, but the more I started reading about it and seeing some very peculiar behavior, I realized that there is more to this story than is on the surface.
I think it comes down to one conclusion: Florida Superior Court Judge Robert Greer entirely screwed this case up, and should be impeached for it.
Greer's incompetence - or bias - set this case up to be a conjumbled mess. Appointing doctors who spent little more than 10 minutes with Terri Schiavo to come up with a prognosis of PVS (persistent vegetative state), allowing testimony of mere hearsay from Michael Schiavo, who has engaged in dubious behavior ever since the argument started between him and the Schindlers (Terri's parents), dismissing evidence of negligence of Terri's medical care under Michael's supervision, and ignoring testimony under oath in the medical malpractice trials of Michael saying he would take care of Terri for the rest of his life all points to a judge that really has no excuse for allowing this to become the circus that it has become.
It would be one thing if Schiavo had written a will or statement that expressed her desire to die if she was in that state. It would also be another if she was on life support. However, Terri is living on her own, and it is directly by Greer's hand that she will die. All of the appellate courts are virtually powerless to stop it due to the the laws put in place by the state of Florida.
I have read U.S. District Court Judge Whittemore's decision
(PDF), and with the possible disagreement on two counts - count II (3) accusing Greer of failing to personally evaluate Terri's responsiveness and count IV stating the 14th amendment had been violated - he is correct in his assessments.
Although I think he never intended to place a temporary stay and retry the case or else he would have ruled on this last night, he is essentially powerless to stop it. Besides, I think the lawyers (and I'm using constructive criticism here, not lashing out) did not make a compelling argument to Whittemore in the first place. Trying to use religious arguments in order to force another trial won't work, and arguing that Greer wasn't impartial without hard evidence to back it up didn't help things either.
I am glad, however, that he did recognize right off the bat that what Congress did was totally legal, and they have the right to send cases from state courts to federal review. There has been a lot of criticism placed on Republicans in Congress for engaging in this behavior, claiming they are hypocrites for using federal power to usurp authority from the states. However, since when did states' rights trump individual rights? Not only is it the option of Congress to act upon what they see as a violation of individual rights (in which the right to life is specifically written in the Constitution), but it is their OBLIGATION to step in and intervene. Congress through Article III in the Constitution has the right to delegate which court cases the federal courts can and can not review.
Congress's act does not qualify as a bill of attainder either. A bill of attainder is a legislative act that actually passes judgement over an individual or a group of people. For example, Congress can not pass a law placing someone in jail, or fining someone "x" amount of dollars, etc. All Congress did was allow judicial review at the federal level and allowing them to decide whether or not it is constitutionally legal before Greer's judgement is carried out.
I really hope the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is able to find a possible constitutional problem with this issue and thus orders a temporary stay in favor of keeping Terri alive. However, the chances of the court remanding the case back to Whittemore in order to start a federal trial are very slim.
As for why I feel there should be another trial, the people over at Liberals For Terri
probably explain it better than I do:
The euthanasia hoopla is a sideshow. This isn't about euthanasia or letting Terri "die with dignity": She can swallow food but the husband won't let her. She can speak but her husband won't let anyone see her do it. Eyewitness reports are dismissed. Competent doctors are stonewalled. Her settlement money is spent on legal fees supporting her "right" to death by dehydration. And, most importantly, the husband may have caused her current condition. So let me ask you: would you want that man making your life-and-death decisions? Would you still want him as a spouse?
Apparently the feeling is mutual. He has moved on to a new "common-law wife" and two new kids. Her care is being provided free of charge by a terminal-patient hospice run by his lawyer's cronies at no expense to her husband or her vanishing estate. The only condition is that he continue to support the "decision" to kill her - something he apparently has no problem doing.
Am I the only one who thinks this is a case for CSI Tampa, not euthanasia court? If they manage to kill Terri Schiavo, Franz Kafka is reportedly coming back from the grave to write another book.
The Terri Schiavo question is not about the Right To Life or the Right To Death with Dignity. It is really about the Right To Indemnification from acts of Mortal Treachery, Medical and Legal Fraud. It is also about the Right To Have Our Mortal Wishes Respected.
We can argue the larger point all day long, but we can't let those that engage in incriminating and fraudulent behavor make life-or-death decicisions - whichever way they may go - on behalf of someone who may have been set up from the beginning. The truth is in there somewhere, and it's time to take a long, hard look at it before it's too late.
That's what it's ultimately about. The abortion/right to life issue is a smokescreen for a negligent husband that is doing everything he can to kill his own wife. And he
had the nerve to insult Republicans this weekend, specifically Tom DeLay?
Regardless of whether the courts actually allow Terri to be killed - and that's exactly what's happening; they are killing her - one fact is certain: Michael Schiavo is one of the lowest forms of scum on this planet. And that's my word.