Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Schiavo....Again

I figure the time is ripe for me to jump on the Terry Schiavo bandwagon. What amazes me, and presumably many other people, is how this issue of personal/familial medical choice has somehow become a federal issue. Let me now voice my (uninformed) opinion: it is entirely inappropriate for the president/congress to tamper with state sovereignty in an issue such as the Schiavo case. I'll get back to this in a second, but let me insert one humorous quote from Kevin Drum's blog:

``Still, I'm a little curious about what all this last minute frenzy to get Schiavo's case into federal court is supposed to accomplish. I mean, what arguments are her parents' lawyers going to make to a federal judge that they haven't already made to the state judge?

For what it's worth, Ann Althouse (here) and Orin Kerr (here) have read the complaint and they both seem pretty skeptical that there's anything to it. All of which begs raises no, dammit, begs the question: what will Tom DeLay do next if the case gets tossed out of federal court? Appeal to The Hague?"

Yes, please appeal to the Hague. That would be absolutely hilarious. Anyway, I'm sure other people have commented on it, though I haven't seen it, but I love the fact that religious conservatives feel it's important to save a hopelessly brain-damaged woman from death, yet still support the death penalty. This gives new meaning for what defines a ``hopeless case."

In a wonderful op-ed piece in the NYTimes, Charles Fried explores how Bush's ruling goes systematically against standard conservative beliefs. Some selected highlights:

"The various opinions in this case portray quite clearly the difficult, indeed agonizing, questions that are presented by the constantly increasing power of science to keep the human body alive for longer than any reasonable person would want to inhabit it," - Antonin Scalia

``Congress...demanded that a federal court decide this issue without giving any deference to state law or the previous course of state court proceedings. This is exactly the sort of episodic federal intervention without regard for the integrity of state processes that plagued death penalty cases for years, and that Congress moved to end when it passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. And the real possibility now of the case bouncing back and forth between the federal district court and the federal appeals court, and maybe even back to state court, is just what Congress tried to shut down in death penalty cases."

You can also read this beautiful editorial in the NYTimes. For those of you who haven't seen it, the specificity of the federal ruling is appaling. It gives `"any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo" standing to sue in federal court to keep her alive.' Anyway, the close of this editorial echoes sentiments of the Bush administrations respect for international law:

``President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic."

Can we wait to see what will happen next? Let's keep this all in perspective: we have one woman, who's right to die peacefully has been turned into a massive political operation. Truly astounding.

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