Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Let Right Be Done

"You shall not side with the great against the powerless."

Those words were spoken by an English Barrister, Sir Robert Morton, who fought to win a case where a middle class English schoolboy was accused of stealing a paltry five-shilling postal money order. The boy was summarily dismissed from the Naval Academy he attended without due process. His family sacrificed everything to regain their family honor and name by sueing the Crown for this injustice.

The theme of the lawsuit was "Let Right be Done" which recognizes the operative principle that what is legal does not mean it is right.

Such is the case of Terri Schiavo. But the stakes are much higher here. It is a human life. Some mitigate that by claiming that it's not much of a life or that the "quality of life" is denigrated. However, "quality of life" is a very subjective standard. Can a human being make that judgment on another's life? Apparently the court thinks so.

Here we have the powerless at the mercy of the great, or the powerful. The court refuses to review her case de novo. Her parents have no legal recourse to save their daughter. Her estranged husband, who is a husband only legally, has the power of life and death over her and the court backs him. In this case, the law is merciless, and what is right is irrelevant.

If Sir Robert Morton were to appear in the courts today I wonder if his ringing cry for right would move the hardened hearts of the justice system. One hundred years ago most people would have been outraged that a husband who abandoned his wife for another woman can still control whether or not his legal wife may live. Indeed, the concept of dehydrating and starving an innocent (let alone a guilty) person would be abhorrent to the sensibilities of pre WWI society.

No more, apparently.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Why Judge Greer is Wrong

Judge: To form an opinion or estimation of after careful deliberation. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Judge Greer decided that Terri Schiavo would not want to live on a feeding tube despite that fact that she left no living will. He based this on the hearsay evidence of Terri's estranged and adulterous legal spouse, Michael Schiavo, who had much to benefit from Terri's death.

What troubles me is that the Judge failed to consider whether or not Terri would wish this death for herself as it would cause great anguish and grief for her parents and siblings. From what I've heard, Terri sounded like a kind, considerate person. She loved her family. What good daughter would want to cause such suffering for her parents? I don't believe that she would have chosen this route because she knew that it would hurt her mother and father terribly.

Instead, the Judge decided that, notwithstanding the fact that Michael Schiavo for all intents and purposes has abandoned his legal wife, this silent disabled woman MUST wish to die by dehydration because her husband, the ACLU, the Pro Death culture, and some medical "experts" with a personal agenda all wish it. What sort of basis did he use for his deliberation?

King Solomon, who was renowned for his wise judgments, decided that a baby belonged to the woman who most wished that the baby would live. The law today would say that possession is 9/10s of the law. So Judge Greer would have awarded that baby to the woman who was indifferent to whether he lived or died.

That is where conventional wisdom has us today.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Time for Federal Marshals

Why doesn't President Bush send the Federal Marshals to Terri Schiavo's rescue?

We have a circuit court judge elected by several thousand who holds this woman captive while she starves. Doesn't a President who was elected by millions trump him?

Yes, the liberals would scream that the Constitution was being violated if President Bush intervened with force. But doesn't Terri's right to life as clearly stated by the very same Constitution override all other concerns? If there is no protection of life, what good are any other rights???

Yes, this would be a case when the Federal Government would "trample" on the State but there are precedents:

In the 1960's Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent Federal Marshals to Alabama to force school segregation of minority blacks, which violated State segregation laws. Did the liberals scream about that?

More recently, under Bill Clinton, a Cuban child, Elias Gonzales was forcibly removed from his home by Federal agents and returned to Cuba where his father lived. Are the liberals moaning about that?

Doesn't the LIFE of a human being take precedence over where one goes to school or with whom one lives?

It's another example of cowardice and hypocrisy in this society.

Please, President Bush, do the right thing. Send the Marshals to save Terri Schiavo and announce that her life is worth more than your political life. Say that you are willing to commit political suicide to save this woman. You will be surprised how Americans will respond if you make this sacrifice.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Schindler's Grist

"Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
for the Lord will take up their case
and will plunder those who plunder them."
Proverbs 22:22-23

Terri Schiavo is being crushed like wheat by the mill of the American legal system.

How many people have experienced the frustration of trying to reach someone by phone only to be shunted back and forth by indifferent parties? For instance you need to talk to someone who can help you with a problem regarding your insurance claim. You have to listen to a recording monotonously droning the menu options. You push buttons. You listen to muzak. Finally someone answers. You tell them your story. Afterwards they decide that they cannot help you and direct you to a different department. You get disconnected. You dial again and go through the entire process again.

I've been through that and sometimes I thought it was a form of postmodern torture. I remember reading about Jesus' experience being sent about to the Sanhedrin, then Pontius Pilate, then Herod, then back to Pilate, and then finally being crucified after Pilate washes his hands of him. Some wanted him dead. Some were indifferent. Some were helpless.

I imagine that this must be a little like the suffering of the Schindler family as they repeatedly try to find someone who will help them save their daughter. Michael Schiavo wants Terri dead. So do the proponents of the absurd and frightful Right to Die movement. The courts are indifferent to her. And many of us are helpless as we watch her slowly die.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"I Thirst"

The fight over whether Terri Schiavo lives or dies continues while we wait for the Appellate Court's trio of Judges to make a decision. Some people call it a circus, but I think those who regard it that way are just afraid to engage themselves in what could be an unprecedented case of cumulative issues:

  • For the religious and the non religious it is a stark battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death.
  • When does a marriage cease to be a true marriage? Michael Schiavo has abandoned his wife and now lives with another woman with whom he has started a new family. Why is he still the guardian for a woman he no longer cares for?
  • Why should a guardian be permitted when there is obvious conflict of interest? If a guardian of a child refused lifesaving medical treatment for their ward, would the State allow that guardianship to continue?
  • Why is there no judicial regard for the desires of Terri Schiavo's blood family?
  • Does the Judicial branch decide only in legalities, and not in moralities? If so, then what is the basis for law?
  • When is it appropriate for the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Federal Government to interfere with the State?
  • If it is acceptable to starve a brain damaged woman to death based on the assumption that she has no "quality of life" then is it acceptable to do the same to the mentally retarded populace in our society?
  • Why is innocent Terri Schiavo denied the same due process of appeal in Federal Courts when convicted criminals are given that very safeguard?
  • Why is she denied medical therapy when there are some who believe that she would improve with it? Why has Michael Schiavo denied her an MRI or a PET scan?

Many of these questions are being asked and discussed among the people as well as among the talking heads on TV and radio. Some of them enrage me, like that idiot on the Abrams Report, whose almost frenzied wild-eyed demeanor demanding why we bother when the woman is practically "dead" makes me want to insert a suction cup in his mouth to remove all the foam. The Civil Rights attorney on the O'Reilly Factor was also close to hysteria as he ranted about the Feds are trying to destroy Terri's "rights". What rights is he thinking about? I wonder. The Right to Die? Oh yes, that's it! Where the **** is that in the Constitution??? Was I out to lunch having my weekly sushi when they added that amendment? Did I fall asleep once again watching C-SPAN when Congress voted on that?

Why are these people so rabid about ensuring that this woman starves and dehydrates till she dies? When I watch them, I see fear in their eyes. It's a fear of what this case has awakened. It's a realization that people are fed up with the Pharasaical turn the Judicial Branch has taken and there is change in the wind.

Christopher Reeve's quality of life was reduced when he suffered an accident which rendered him brain damaged. Why weren't they clamoring to have his plug pulled? Was it because he LOOKED better than Terri? He was a movie star, after all. He could also afford the fancy equipment and therapy to improve his circumstances. Why was he worth more than this silent woman who has not been outdoors in the sunshine for over 3 years at the decree of her guardian?

Whether or not Terri Schiavo will live or die, I think that this may galvanize the Pro Life Movement, the critics of activist judges, and the proponents of those who cannot defend themselves and who have been labeled as an inconvenience.

It seems to be no coincidence this week is Holy Week. It's the most significant religious time for Christians, many of whom are the ardent supporters of the efforts to save this woman. If she is permitted to die at the hand of activist judges and a man who stands to benefit from her death, then we will indeed be witnessing a true passion play.