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Federalism and Terri Schiavo

People who accuse Republicans of playing politics with Ms. Schiavo are guilty of of superficial analysis, the kind that makes Maureen Dowd and her sophomoric scribblings so consistently irritating. At the root of that analysis is the doubt that people really do things for moral reasons rooted in an ethos that springs from religion. No, everything happens for cynical political reasons, say the skeptics. Evil Dark Lord Rove is just jerking the strings of them ignorant Bible-thumping rednecks again in his eternal quest for souls votes, they say.

Well...some of us do believe that a helpless woman should be treated with slightly more consideration than a murderer on Death Row. Others see important issues of federalism and civil rights. Either way, while there may indeed be some worthless scum who are mining this for political gold, there are a lot more people who are trying to keep this woman from being starved to death because it's the right thing to do.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 21st, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
That's a bit simplistic, given the case, I think. The woman is gone. A vast portion of her brain has gone away and been replaced with spinal fluid. She's not going to get better, and lemme tell you, if I was in that situation, I am pretty damn sure I wouldn't want to live.

The point is as well, why do her parents have any say in her care at all? She has a husband, he should be making the decisions for her. I understand not wanting to let someone go; I've lost a lot of people in my life. But what, 19 judges over 7 years have sided with the husband's right to make medical decisions? There's only so many times you can yell "do over" before the game is over.
Mar. 21st, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
qob has made a number of my points for me, but I think there a couple of points you're missing here. There is some debate as to whether Schiavo is actually brain-dead, and the husband will not allow the MRI and PET scans that would clearly establish this; there is also plenty of cliptage showing her reacting and interacting with her parents and others.

As for the judges, the original trial judge has been the only one to rule on the facts. Appeals court judges do not allow new facts into the system, they merely rule on whether proper procedure was followed, which is why superior courts will sometimes remand cases to the lower courts for retrial.
Mar. 21st, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC)
And the CAT scan isn't enough to show the deterioration of the brain?

[btw, did you and Ish talk about hotel things yet?]
Mar. 21st, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
I may have it backward...it may be the CAT that wasn't done. Either way, the article I saw stated that the more detailed scan hadn't been done, and that Michael Schiavo had refused to have them doen even though they were covered under the terms of the suit paying for her care.

No, I haven't talked to him yet...it sounds like the T-bird wants to pitch a multi-year deal to us, and we might be amenable to that since they have some ideas about how we can better handle a CONvergence-sized crowd.
Mar. 21st, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC)
Well, I haven't seen an MRI, but I have seen (on the news) a CAT film. But there's the info I gave you showing there was.

There's a lot of misinformation about the case. Soucheray had a great point with a caller who was going on about all sorts of wild accusations that she said showed just how evil Michael Schaivo was, but then said he wanted to have her die so he could get married in the Catholic Church. Joe asked: If Michael is so evil, why would it be important that he be married in the Church?
Mar. 21st, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
And actually, she had an MRI on or before 7/24/90.

Mar. 23rd, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
I can see 3 main areas to be addressed - factual(medical), emotional, procedural(legal)

the emotional is what you are seeing with the congress acting,
the parents who are justifibly bereft at the thought that their
child would be turned off, that the end of a road that they have
been dreading for 15 years would be reached, the husband in
his role as trying to do what he knows (and everyone else has
to consider if they believe) is the right thing by her wishes, her
caretakers, etc. All of these people have a part in the complex
emotion playing out. a note: congress is not overstepping bounds
with an extreme statement of EMOTIONAL support (hold the yelling -
there is more on this below)

the factual, speciffic to medical fact - while experts can disagree,
it should be possible to examine the evidence here and see if there
is hope for her, or if there is just false hope being held by a few,
such as her parents. Just as turning her off if there is still a reasonable
chance of improvement is horrible and wrong, keeping her "on" if there
is little to no hope of any improvement is grotesque - both are wrong.
It has been 15 years, lets remember. congress, even Dr. Frist, has no
place in this - they have never examined her, they can not say her state
or demand a certain decision from the judiciary - that last in particular,
would be a huge violation of the separation of powers.

the procedural, as applied to the law - appeals courts are only looking at
the proper application of the law, not the evidence or decision itself.
congress can not set asside the original determination and tell the
judiciary to "try again". constitutionaly not permitted, very clearly.
congress may have pressed the bounds of their powers in this in bumping
the care from the state to the feds. in fact, the things that congress passed
may have been unconstitutional (not supposed to make a bill that is for a
single person or limited group of persons, laws are meant to apply to all.

A complex and sad case, but I think one where the emotion has stolen the
day (and of course the press has nothing to do with that) and that the
factual and procedural issues will likely win in the end. Still, a very sad
thing, and a challenge for people to see clearly through the emotion and
to the more vital factors.


Mar. 21st, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
Through my church I've spent time with several dying people, caring for them.
The last thing the family wants is for them to be put to death. There is also great spiritual benefit to both them and the person dying. Terri's life will never be what it was before, but that does not validate killing her. Also this establishes a dangerous precedent. If my old wife falls into a coma and I want to move on and dispose of her, who could stop me" Assuming for a moment that Bush and the Republicans are rank obvious hypocrites, that does not justify her death.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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