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Charles Krauthammer: Between Travesty and Tragedy (writes on the Terri Schiavo's case)
Washington Post ^ | March 23, 2005 | Charles Krauthammer

Posted on 03/22/2005 9:45:11 PM PST by Former Military Chick

If I were in Terri Schiavo's condition, I would not want a feeding tube. But Schiavo does not have the means to make her intentions known. We do not know what she would have wanted. We have nothing to go on. No living will, no advance directives, no durable power of attorney.

What do you do when you have nothing to go on? You try to intuit her will, using loved ones as surrogates.

In this case, the loved ones disagree. The husband wants Terri to die; the parents do not. The Florida court gave the surrogacy to her husband, under the generally useful rule that your spouse is the most reliable diviner of your wishes: You pick your spouse and not your parents, and you have spent most of your recent years with your spouse and not your parents.

The problem is that although your spouse probably knows you best, there is no guarantee that he will not confuse his wishes with yours. Terri's spouse presents complications. He has a girlfriend, and has two kids with her. He clearly wants to marry again. And a living Terri stands in the way.

Now, all of this may be irrelevant in his mind. He may actually be acting entirely based on his understanding of his wife's wishes. And as she left nothing behind, the courts have been forced to conclude, on the basis of his testimony, that she would prefer to be dead.

That is why this is a terrible case. The general rule of spousal supremacy leads you here to a thoroughly repulsive conclusion. Repulsive because in a case where there is no consensus among the loved ones, one's natural human sympathies suggest giving custody to the party committed to her staying alive and pledging to carry the burden themselves.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: krauthammer; schiavo; terri; terrischiavo
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Charles is one heck of a writer. Whether you agree or disagree he offers food for thought.
1 posted on 03/22/2005 9:45:11 PM PST by Former Military Chick
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To: Former Military Chick

Michael Schaivo's lawyer keeps saying Terri said, "no tubes for me". Well, that doesn't mean to keep food out of her mouth. If her parents want to feed her pudding, jello, etc. and it works, then to deprive her of that is beyond her wishes. The judge is ordering something she never requested. No tubes, not no food!!!


2 posted on 03/22/2005 9:48:44 PM PST by 1Peter3v14
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To: Former Military Chick
The problem is that although your spouse probably knows you best, there is no guarantee that he will not confuse his wishes with yours. Terri's spouse presents complications. He has a girlfriend, and has two kids with her. He clearly wants to marry again. And a living Terri stands in the way.

He WON'T simply divorce her. America, wake the &%$# UP!

3 posted on 03/22/2005 9:48:58 PM PST by JennysCool ("Only lie about the future." -Johnny Carson)
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To: JennysCool

Bumping that, JennysCool.


4 posted on 03/22/2005 9:51:02 PM PST by Miss Behave (Man who fart in church sit in own pew.)
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To: Former Military Chick
"What do you do when you have nothing to go on? You try to intuit her will, using loved ones as surrogates."

Wrong. Unless you're the Amazing Kreskin, you don't try to "intuit" anyone's will. When there's a doubt, LIFE wins out.

Period.

End.

Of.

Story.

5 posted on 03/22/2005 9:51:59 PM PST by Luddite Patent Counsel ("Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx)
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To: Former Military Chick
Blood is thicker then water. I believe the family is who you go with. Spouses come and go but your family is always there. Plus he was not married that long. And he wants her dead!
6 posted on 03/22/2005 9:54:58 PM PST by Brimack34
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To: Former Military Chick
Repulsive because in a case where there is no consensus among the loved ones, one's natural human sympathies suggest giving custody to the party committed to her staying alive and pledging to carry the burden themselves.

One would think so, but I've seen otherwise.

7 posted on 03/22/2005 9:55:52 PM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Gnome sayin'?)
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To: Luddite Patent Counsel
When there's a doubt, LIFE wins out. Period.

As the writer stated, then it needs to be codified in law. Teri's unfortunate situation will, hopefully, lead to some legal clarification of future situations such as this one.

8 posted on 03/22/2005 9:56:44 PM PST by zarf
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To: Former Military Chick
The general rule of spousal supremacy comes from an age where golden anniversaries were common. Today, people are amazed if a couple makes it to 10 years. Sure, there are plenty of exceptions but the current divorce rate should be factored into the equation when it comes to current day application of that general rule.
9 posted on 03/22/2005 9:57:35 PM PST by NonValueAdded (It took the submedia to sink Kerry's campaign boat)
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To: DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet

I think that it was okay to name Michael Schiavo guardian in the beginning, but when he started the adultereous relationship with another woman, he had a conflict of interest, which is very clear here, and he should have long ago been removed. He has not had Terri's interest at heart for years. The courts have failed Terri.


10 posted on 03/22/2005 9:59:20 PM PST by tessalu ( A)
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To: Former Military Chick

That's a good article!! Thank you for posting it.


11 posted on 03/22/2005 10:03:18 PM PST by Gimme
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To: NonValueAdded
You have an point. Marriage in todays culture is not as widely practiced as a union of permanent devotion and fidelity.

I should add for those on this thread who may not know, Charles Krauthammer is a Medical Doctor who is confined to a wheelchair.

12 posted on 03/22/2005 10:05:23 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!)
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To: Former Military Chick
The only outcome in this case is a complete loss of faith in our "justice" system. First the courts rule that states have no right to determine whether or not someone like Lee Malvo, who just scraped under the wire as a minor when he killed all those people in the sniper attacks, should be terminated for his crimes and then they come along and state the states DO have a right to determine the death of a perfectly innocent person. Judges in MA decide that marriage is fungable and can mean anything they want it to mean even if the people disagree and the "lawmakers" stand frozen. These same black robed thugs decide that the people don't have first amendment rights when it comes to political speech when they upheld CFR, but pornography of course DOES fall under the perview of freedom of speech as does burning the flag. Go figure!

I have come to the conclusion that you must not ever do anything that would bring you to the attention of our courts. NEVER! You must live in total fear of being put at the mercy of these cold hearted, immoral people in black robes. They are to be feared more than anything, they are inconsistant, they are not judges, they are gamesmen playing with words while peoples lives are in the balance.

Don't bother to tell me how much better our system is than any other, frankly I can't see it. It may not be worse, but it is certainly no better. You can not count on it, it's worthless.

13 posted on 03/22/2005 10:08:33 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: smoothsailing

I thought he was a psychiatrist. Is that still an MD? I'm not positive of his specialty however.


14 posted on 03/22/2005 10:09:59 PM PST by Fudd Fan (MaryJo Kopechne needed an "exit strategy")
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To: smoothsailing

He's also a Psychiatrist. A brilliant man.


15 posted on 03/22/2005 10:13:04 PM PST by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Fudd Fan

Hey FF! Actually,we are both correct.He is an MD and a Psychiatrist.


17 posted on 03/22/2005 10:15:59 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!)
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To: Fudd Fan
I thought he was a psychiatrist. Is that still an MD

He is psychiatrist but you have to complete medical residency before you can start study psychiatry so yes he is MD. Psychologists are not MDs.

18 posted on 03/22/2005 10:16:12 PM PST by Dave S
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To: Former Military Chick
"There is no good outcome to this case. Except perhaps if Florida and the other states were to amend their laws and resolve conflicts among loved ones differently -- by granting authority not necessarily to the spouse but to whatever first-degree relative (even if in the minority) chooses life and is committed to support it. Call it Terri's law. It would help prevent our having to choose in the future between travesty and tragedy."

It is difficult to disagree with Charles on this point. Perhaps this will be the best outcome.

19 posted on 03/22/2005 10:17:28 PM PST by Balata
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To: NonValueAdded

You make a good point and one of the reasons that the law is silent is that, IMO, such situations have been rare, if not non existant despite claims that it happens tens of thousands of times a day.

Rather than the travesty that Krauthammer suggests, I think that the Congress took a necessary first step to protect life when such a conflict arises.

The states SHOULD do this themselves, but that doesn't mean that Congress was wrong to pick up the ball when Florida dropped it.

The travesty, if there is one, is that Congress took so long to take this issue up. By waiting, Terri is now 5 days closer to death than she should be.


20 posted on 03/22/2005 10:17:59 PM PST by Badray (Quinn's First Law -- Liberalism ALWAYS generates the exact opposite of its stated intent.)
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To: Former Military Chick

We are seeing slow-motion tyranny, where the wheels of government justice grind so slowly to produce a lawful result that is the opposite of justice.


21 posted on 03/22/2005 10:20:40 PM PST by ewin
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To: 185JHP

One of the few times I disagree with him. Separation of Powers is important, and as a conservative I value it highly, but the life of a helpless woman supersedes this,or at least it ought to.


22 posted on 03/22/2005 10:22:18 PM PST by Zivasmate (" A wise man's heart inclines him to his right, but a fool's heart to his left." - Ecclesiastes 10)
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To: Fudd Fan

Yes. Psychiatrists do have MD's.


23 posted on 03/22/2005 10:22:28 PM PST by curiosity
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To: Former Military Chick
And we do not go around euthanizing the minimally conscious in the back wards of mental hospitals on the grounds that their lives are not worth living.

Well, we aren't euthanizing them yet. The Nazi doctors initially began their work on the 'Final Solution' by moving the mentally afflicted out of institutions and into group homes.

From Robert Jay Lifton's book, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide

24 posted on 03/22/2005 10:24:15 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: 1Peter3v14
If her parents want to feed her pudding, jello, etc. and it works, then to deprive her of that is beyond her wishes.

Wouldn't the simplest way to determine Terri's true wishes be to offer her food orally. If she makes an attempt to accept the food that would certainly be an indication that she doesn't wish to starve, would it not?

25 posted on 03/22/2005 10:24:20 PM PST by Shethink13
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To: Zivasmate

;<)


26 posted on 03/22/2005 10:26:57 PM PST by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: smoothsailing
Did you read his article after Kerry's idiot running mate saying when "Kerry is president people like Reeves will walk". It was very good, you can get it from his archives on Jewish World Review.
27 posted on 03/22/2005 10:30:28 PM PST by lolhelp
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: Former Military Chick

Can someone please explain this to me? Why is it that the husband is considered the sole guardian in this matter? The parents here want to take custody of their child. Why arent they allowed by the court to do so?


29 posted on 03/22/2005 10:31:08 PM PST by econ_grad
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To: Shethink13

First you would have to negate Greers court order.


30 posted on 03/22/2005 10:32:42 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!)
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To: tessalu

I can not understand why, when he evidently decided to "get on with his life" he didn't get a divorce and then she would have gone back to her parents care. Just dose not make sense to me.


31 posted on 03/22/2005 10:37:27 PM PST by lolhelp
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To: ewin

I despise liberals for wishing death on an invalid. I think they lost millions of votes with this stand against Terri with handicapped people.


32 posted on 03/22/2005 10:38:09 PM PST by John Lenin (We don't need no steenk'en high payin jobs)
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To: lolhelp

Thank You! I like Krauthammer, I will check it out.


33 posted on 03/22/2005 10:39:18 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!)
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To: Brimack34

Excellent.


34 posted on 03/22/2005 10:40:26 PM PST by citizencon
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To: Former Military Chick

He is also "pro-choice". I like the guy and find him insightful. Just hope someone in a black robe doesn't make the choice that life in a wheelchair isn't what he would want.


35 posted on 03/22/2005 10:40:56 PM PST by Eagles6 (Dig deeper, more ammo.)
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To: Former Military Chick

He is also "pro-choice". I like the guy and find him insightful. Just hope someone in a black robe doesn't make the choice that life in a wheelchair isn't what he would want.


36 posted on 03/22/2005 10:47:29 PM PST by Eagles6 (Dig deeper, more ammo.)
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To: zarf
When there's a doubt, LIFE wins out. Period. As the writer stated, then it needs to be codified in law. Teri's unfortunate situation will, hopefully, lead to some legal clarification of future situations such as this one.

This whole issue stems from one thing. The intention of some to separate GOD and COUNTRY.

37 posted on 03/22/2005 10:47:32 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: Badray

The problem is not marriage, I know plenty of folks who are committed for life. The problem really isn't the courts. Contrary to what many might believe, most are constrained by the limits of the law. The problem is with us. Laws were not in place to help folks like Terri. Meanwhile, conservatives keep looking to the feds and Congress for help. That's absurd. State legislatures are best suited to address the problem. They need to be deluged with people demanding that the laws concerning guardianship and end of life decision-making be reworked.


38 posted on 03/22/2005 10:47:51 PM PST by Don'tMessWithTexas
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To: Former Military Chick
The federal judge who refused to reverse the Florida court was certainly true to the law.

But see, the federal judge was not supposed to be asked to review the Florida case. Congress had given the Schindlers an opportunity for a completely new trial on the facts. But their bone-headed attorney filed what amounted to an appeal, citing alleged errors by Greer as the basis of his arguments. He left the federal judge with no choice. He made the one plea that was guaranteed to lose.

Terri Schiavo may well die because the Schindlers' attorney is incompetent.


39 posted on 03/22/2005 10:48:08 PM PST by Nick Danger (You can stick a fork in the Mullahs... they're done)
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To: Nick Danger

Time was of the essence here. Do you realize how long it would take to plan, schedule and conduct a trial? Beside, Congress did not give the Schindlers the right to a new trial. They received the right to a federal appeal. That appeal would be allowed to consider all of the evidence presented at trial in order to make its decision.


40 posted on 03/22/2005 10:53:29 PM PST by Don'tMessWithTexas
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To: Don'tMessWithTexas
Congress did not give the Schindlers the right to a new trial.

Yes, they did. Read the legislation.

    Do you realize how long it would take to plan, schedule and conduct a trial?

Hence the plea for an emergency order putting the tube back in. But to get such an order, the judge has to believe that you have at least a chance of winning your case. Given the way the Schindlers' attorney pled the case, he had no chance. The attorney turned what should have been a time-consuming totally new trial into a lickety-split denied appeal, just by being unbelievably stupid. Terri Schiavo could die because of this. I am so mad I could spit. This is not a reason for someone to die.


41 posted on 03/22/2005 11:04:04 PM PST by Nick Danger (You can stick a fork in the Mullahs... they're done)
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To: smoothsailing

Yes, a graduate of Harvard Medical School AND a psychiatrist. His short article was one of the finest
commentaries on this tragic subject I've seen. He provides
a marvelous example of reason and moral sensitivity that
can serve as a lesson to the irrational emotionality that
has characterized so much of the debate. I had stopped
listening to other views because so many were filled with
hate and venomous character assassination. Much heat but
NO light! It's refreshing to see an objective and
rational commentary that this tragic situation so much
deserves.


42 posted on 03/22/2005 11:10:13 PM PST by T.L.Sink (stopew)
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To: nutmeg

bttt


43 posted on 03/22/2005 11:12:53 PM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
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To: Nick Danger
Hence the plea for an emergency order putting the tube back in. But to get such an order, the judge has to believe that you have at least a chance of winning your case.

The problem is, they had no real choice but to go on the record as established in the state courts. "Give us more time to gather new evidence" is not an argument that shows a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits, but without the state court proceedings, that's about all they had to work with. And that will never buy you an injunction in any court in the land.

44 posted on 03/22/2005 11:17:48 PM PST by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: zarf

But in the minds of liberals, to side once with life, is, to challenge their most-cherished of 'so-called' rights: abortion.


45 posted on 03/22/2005 11:23:04 PM PST by twntaipan (demonRATs: The true heirs of Eichman)
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To: Former Military Chick

Charles Krauthammer cuts through rhetoric and bring clarity to the argument in defense of Terri's life. Thanks Mr. Krauthammer for the insight.


46 posted on 03/22/2005 11:24:57 PM PST by LAQueenBee3 (The interesting and inspiring thing about America is that she asks nothing for herself except what s)
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To: Former Military Chick

letter to Charles KRAUTHAMMER:

Dear Mr. Krauthammer,
The law has been imposed without mercy. It has further been imposed in direct conflict with the religious beliefs of Terri. For her to want to end her life she would have to reject the teaching of her church, to which she remained devoted throughout her active life.
The court has completely failed to consider the religious ramifications of suicide by refusing basic sustenance as an act that, according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, condemns her immortal soul to eternal separation from God. There is no reason to assume that this would ever have been her choice. This leaves us with the likelihood that she is being murdered against her will.
This is a travesty of justice and makes a mockery of the courts. The culture of death has overplayed its hand. The court has sentenced Terri to death on hearsay and a denial of all of her protected rights. The courts have affirmed that she is no more than the property of an uncaring husband who no longer wishes to be burdened with her continued existence.
This is a perilous moment in our nation's history.


47 posted on 03/22/2005 11:31:46 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (What you do to the least of these you do also to me. - Jesus)
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To: T.L.Sink

I agree. To many are screwed to tight on this. This is a subject that requires calm objective consideration.


48 posted on 03/22/2005 11:33:26 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!)
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To: general_re

I appreciate your logic; however, the clear intent of the bill was to have a new trial without any prior procedings effecting this trial, de novo, new record.

Why couldn't the argument be made that this is the bills intent, and that if you do not consider the findings of fact of the previous procedings as binding - which the law instructs - then these facts concerning her intent and her medical condition do offer a reasonable chance of winning?

In other words: the law says start anew, unrestricted by previous findings. Under those conditions, there is a reasonable chance of different findings of fact on two key issues and here's why...


49 posted on 03/23/2005 12:57:29 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: D-fendr
Under those conditions, there is a reasonable chance of different findings of fact on two key issues and here's why...

The trouble is, there are no new facts, no new evidence to present to the federal judge. What else can you do but ask him to look at the evidence that was presented in the state courts? Worse, you're not really even asking him to do that, you're asking him to only look at the half of the record that's favorable to you. Well, if you're going to present all these same arguments and bits of evidence that you presented before, how can the judge not assume that the other side will also present pretty much the same response, and then examine it as well? Worse still, you're presenting a set of facts that are supposed to show that you have a substantial likelihood of prevailing, when that exact same set of facts has already lost several times before.

As much as I hate being the voice of negativity here tonight, what judge in his right mind would issue a ruling based on a trial transcript with half the pages ripped out? No one would, and he almost surely wouldn't have to - if the Schindlers show up with their half of the previous record, you can bet Schiavo and his attorney were only too willing to provide the other half. "De novo" doesn't really mean "tabula rasa", especially not if your argument is solely based on the prior record, as the Schindlers' was.

50 posted on 03/23/2005 1:08:49 AM PST by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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