Skip to comments."Schiavo Case Said Little About 'Right to Die,' Much About Judicial Supremacy" (and INactivism!)
Posted on 05/17/2005 9:40:33 PM PDT by CHARLITE
Ironically, if Terri Schiavo's feeding tube had been reinserted and she had been allowed to live on, it would have done very little damage to the purported "right to die." It would have set no precedent for cases in which a patient has left written instructions, in which a patient's heart is unable to beat or lungs are unable to breathe without the aid of a machine, in which a patient was already suffering a terminal illness, or in which a patient's closest family members are united as to what the patient wanted. What made Terri's case stand out was not how typical it was of "end-of-life" issues, but how utterly unique.
While allowing Terri to live would have done little harm to the "right to die," the determination of her husband and the entire judicial system of the United States to kill her set some very dangerous precedents indeed. One is what it says about the role of judges in our system of laws.
Liberals who were cynical about legislative intervention in the case gleefully pointed out that the courts that heard various motions in the case could hardly be accused of "judicial activism." This term is often used by conservatives to describe judges who read into the law principles not evident from its language. Indeed, courts in this case might better be accused of "judicial inactivism"--an unwillingness to draw obvious conclusions from newly enacted laws if it might mean questioning the decision of a fellow judge.
The common thread, however, is judicial arrogance, judicial supremacy, and judicial tyranny. Defenders of the courts' refusal to intervene tout the constitutional principle of the "separation of powers" between the branches of government. They are less enamored with the concept that the three branches exercise "checks and balances" upon one another, except in a one-way direction (that is, when judges tell legislators to throw out the laws they have passed through the democratic process).
In the Schiavo case, the defenders of this judicially-mandated death argue that the Florida courts correctly construed the decision-making process which Florida law provides under such circumstances. Even if that is true, it was surely the prerogative of the Florida legislature to change that law in a way that provides additional protections for a fundamental right. The courts would then be under an absolute obligation to obey that law, because legislators write laws, and courts merely apply them to individual cases.
The courts, however, would have none of it. That's why, when Florida legislators passed a law in 2003 that would have granted Terri added protections, the Florida Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. And when Congress passed a law in March giving federal courts jurisdiction to protect Terri's right to life, the courts simply refused to exercise it. Our branches of government are supposed to be co-equal, but in this case, preserving judicial supremacy over the legislative branch trumped all other considerations, including obedience to the rule of law.
Along with the "separation of powers," another principle gleefully trumpeted by the advocates of Terri's death is "federalism." Why, they wondered, do conservatives who normally defend the powers of the states now want to promote federal intervention in a court case already settled at the state level? However, the conservative concern about "states' rights" arises primarily when the federal government interferes with the states in one of two ways--by exercising a power that is not explicitly granted to it by the Constitution, or by denying states a power that is not denied them by the Constitution. In this case, however, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says explicitly, "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
The precise question at issue in the Schiavo case was whether Terri was being "deprived of life ... without due process of law." Federal courts have a perfectly logical role in determining whether a state has violated such a clear-cut federal constitutional right. A case like this, in which "life" means "life" and "due process" means "due process," is a far cry from liberal judicial activism like Roe v. Wade. In the latter "life" means "only a life that is wanted by the mother," "liberty" means "abortion," and "due process" means "meeting the approval of liberal elites."
Judges must indeed be independent, but that does not mean that they are sovereign, with the power to write, interpret, and execute the laws. Granting them such power is a recipe for tyranny.
Who is Terri Schiavo? **S**
Never forget PING!
Thousands read and participated in the Terri threads. This evening, only 42 were interested enough to read the article.
I assure you, I will NEVER forget!
Char, I have full confidence that many more people read the title of this article and are still very concerned with this issue. There was no need to read the article because we know the details all too painfully. The title IS the message. I personally am a little frustrated about what to do to accomplish sorely needed meaningful change. I don't know if eliminating the judicial filibuster will help much. Something evil seems to happen to many judges when they're on the bench. An unchecked judiciary is NOT a good thing, and our congresscritters don't seem to have enough integrity to perform their constitutional balancing DUTY.
There is always room for argument, but for me, these are the three seminal, defining issues of our times:
A runaway Judiciary, is your life really your own, and can we keep our culture, country, and borders intact? The rest is mere commentary.
Thank you for this post. Please do not get discouraged at apparent fading of this event. So different from other stories that come and go, the plight of Terri has touched hearts and continues to do so in a way we cannot yet appreciate.
Hidious evil has been unmasked by this event. People's lives have changed for the better because of what they now comprehend. Much emphasis has shifted to other levels, new email networks springing up, people waking up.
Terri's plight marks a sea change for how we view our country and our world in religious terms and in politics. I predict it will become more apparent as time goes by that much good will be manifest by Terri's suffering.
Remember Char, we've got different time zones and early to bed folks too. In general I must agree but let's not be so hard on us just yet.
Keep the faith.
I wouldn't get discouraged at that, the thread has a catchy
title, that helps, but it posted after midnight eastern, and
didn't make it onto the sidebar where most people scan for
interesting new articles. The sidebar adds about a 10X bump
to its visability. I think this one would have qualified
as an 'editorial' so it could have been put onto that sidebar.
Pinglists add another big bump too and our biggest pinglist'er
OfF has gone awol, we all pray she is OK.
My frustration over the way the nation seems to have moved on
I will never cease to be extremely interested until justice is served
to every wicked person who either aided and abetted in her murder
or failed to spare her life.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of leadership for where we
go from here and it is made all the worse by the fact that those who
do care are scattered all over the nation.
I'm praying that Mark Furhman's and Cheryl Ford's books will jump
start an action plan.
I did read yesterday about a woman who is still protesting at the intersection down the street from Woodside Hospice near the Winn Dixie
store that towed the cars of the protestors. People still care and want to
support and love the Schindlers, IMO!
*I'm praying that Mark Furhman's and Cheryl Ford's books will jump start an action plan.*
I agree, Lesforlife! I've already ordered Furhman's book and will also order Cheryl's book. Cheryl worked so hard to save Terri. I'm sure her book will be an excellent tool for getting more people informed on the issues and facts.
Did you see the Schindler's giving the new Pope a framed picture of Terri? I saw it on CNN. Thank Goodness for something positive in Terri's memory. The Schindler's looked real sad! I will NEVER FORGET TERRI.
Thanks again to each and every one of you for your replies, and for your obvious concern with Terry's legacy.
The euthanasia culture is celebrating right now because they won a battle and got Terri. But they haven't quite realized yet that good people like yourself and all those who heard about Terri and tried to help have now woken up to what they've been doing in the shadows all these years.
I think many of us had previously thought that our own individual experiences with end-of-life decisions for loved ones were just random, luck of the draw tragedies. But Terri brought out into public awareness the organized methods and mentality of the "quality of life" euthanasia crowd, and I think many are re-examining how their own stories fit in to the bigger picture (that they hadn't even realized was there before). Terri shone a spotlight on how the Deathies think and work, and I think most people instinctively, inwardly cringed, despite CNN telling them it was all just dandy.
The euthanasia movement may find the sunlight now shining on them to be not quite the victory they think.
.....and will you ever forget the grandstanding of George Felos, having the unmitigated GALL to come out in front of the bank of microphones and "report" to the world that in all of the time he'd ever known Terri Schiavo, "she has never looked so beautiful!"???
If this didn't wake us all up to the macabre, twisted mindset of these people, then nothing can, and if this is going to represent "life on earth,"......then we all would be better off dead.
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