Skip to comments.Charles Krauthammer: Between Travesty and Tragedy (writes on the Terri Schiavo's case)
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 ...
You don't even know who I am. You have simply pronounced Matthew 23 on me with no idea of what I believe - and if you did read my post, you sure as HELL did not comprehend it.
You are entitled to your opinion. You are NOT entitled to imply that "hayseed hick Christians" - I'm scared about the "Christians" who decided that they and only they know what God wants.
So get the f*** off YOUR high-horse. I'm not going to waste any love on folks who see fit to imply that I am not sufficiently conservative/Christian because I don't toe THIER line on this matter of any other. I'm in a pretty hostile mood when folks make that sort of implication.
A refreshingly dispassionate consideration of the issue.
Usually that is true. Perhaps not in this case.
I have a gut feeling the Supreme Court will hear this case now, and issue a surprising ruling. I could be wrong of course.
Don't let it get to ya'. :) Does it really matter what one internut thinks of you?
This article is incredibly good. I must thank most of you on this thread for discussing in a mature manner, after the manner of Krauthammer's article. I'm sobbing about this yet again.
Tough, tough situation. If you haven't looked at the FR poll now - do so - we have a major split here - no surprise if you have been on these threads.
For those of you who didn't bother to read the whole article, I have to agree with Krauthammer's last paragraph:
" 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. "
In addition, please don't miss Tony Blankley's equally good article:
Not fit to judge: Human handling of Terri's case falls short
Don't get in a lather...the poster you're replying to is a person who has proven themselves uninterested in the truth, or even coherence. Just ignore that one.
What body of laws forbids tormenting a prisoner with panties on his head, but allows an total withdrawal of liquids from an innocent person?
Two reasons for Forbidding a drop of liquid to cross her lips:
1) She might actually demonstrate that she is not vegetative, and
2) Any fluid intake will prolong the process of her demise.
To my way of looking at this, any judge who would go so far is similar to the tales we have heard about trials of witches. "If she is innocent, she will live" sort of judgement. Meanwhile ... she dries out
Thanks for the ping; two great articles.
The law says, rightly or wrongly, that Michael Schiavo is empowered to make these decisions on Terri's behalf. That doesn't lead to the outcome most of us would want here, but if so, the law needs changing, because as it exists now, it allows for this sort of thing to happen. It may not be fair, it may not be just, but it is the law, and it will remain the law until the law is changed, which is something judges aren't supposed to do.
You could not have stated the liberal position more precisely.
Separation of Powers is important, and as a fill in blank I value it highly, but fill in blank supersedes this,or at least it ought to.
I have absolutely no idea what that ignorant statement you just made means with regard to this case...
FMC- you should start a Krauthammer ping list- I always miss his articles. Thanks for posting.
Are you suggesting that in ANY situation where there is ANY disagreement between a spouse and someone's parents that the parent's wishes should rule? Your position is absurd.
There are lots of situations where parents could have a conflict of interest. There are also situations where parents have no idea about their child's wishes on end of life care. My wife and I have spoken extensively about these issues. She has never indicated to her parents about her wishes. Insinuating that parents care more about a child than their spouse is ignorant.
I am not going to keep bugging you about your defense of the law in this case. I do not have time to review the case, but I did read where the judge ORDERED no liquid to pass her lips. We do not allow that for animals. Where is PETA and ALF and Sierra Club on this issue?
PS: My father died in a hospice 2 months ago. His body decided that it was time to go, not his family, and yes, for the final days (less than a week) he had no intake.
We did not hasten the process by choosing the day arbitrarily like this judge did -- "5pm 21 days after this ruling."
Terri Schiavo was bravely living the life she had on the 18th of March, until 5pm, when a judge's order forced a life-ending process on her.
Even if a G-tube can remotely be called "life support," removing it should not forbid fluids by mouth "as tolerated." Less than that is cruel and inhuman.
Don't bother to reply, as I realize we will never understand each other's position
Too many people have transposed their faith into the rules of judges, while they fight tooth and nail to provent appearing to be ruled by religious leaders.
Terri had life on the 18th of March, equal to the life she had on the 17th of March. A blackrobed man decided to end it, on the request of another man. I will never accept that was a correct or honorable judgment.
But I am terrified of the pro-euthanasia ramifications of his decision. Hordes of useless people will be eased off the earth in the coming years = years of more dependent people and less money to care for them and fewer nurses to provide the care.
If we are both still around 20 years from now, I bet you that the (mathematical) average life span will be lower, due to the 'compassionate' ending of many lives.
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Let's say it's what he believes she would really want if she were vegetative. Well, if she were vegetative she wouldn't know or care what was going on with her body. If she is there, then any statement she made about what she would want if she were vegetative does not apply. In either case it's a non-issue.
That he wants her dead so badly ought to bother everyone. We have a right to know why before we kill her.
The way out is clear - change the law.
After Terri's feeding tube has been restored. Until then there isn't much time for calm, objective consideration.
I think the husband and his lawyer are lying. And the husband has three reasons at home and a few hundred thousand reasons in the bank, why he would lie about Terri.
Krauthammer, as usual, cuts through the thicket and nails the subject.
I cannot cite the case, but I heard testimony before a state committee in 2003 that the Supreme Court has ruled that you must presume the parents are acting in the best interestes of their child unless you have evidence to the contrary.
The subject of the testimony was home education, not the Schaivo case. I do not know if the statement applies once the child is no longer a minor.
And I find it interesting that neither the federal trial judge nor the three members of the 11th Circuit panel have questioned the constitutionality of the new law. That, I thought, was the weakest aspect of the case.
I agree with you that the parents' attorneys have made errors. Why they did not seek to get Terri divorced from Michael, seven years ago.
Because Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, is a major contributor to Judge Greer's campaign. It's quite the little incestuous nest down there.
It is calm objective consideration that has brought me to this conclusion: Executive action is necessary.
Actually, I believe something more is necessary, and it's probably a good thing I'm not with the crowd in Florida where I might be tempted to implement it. Or maybe I should get my tuckus down there and quit making excuses.
A mob needs to flood that hospital or hospice (can't remember where Terri is now) to incapacitate the personnel there while Terri is removed to a place of safety and fed. Let them take the consequences of kidnapping charges or whatever. Stop waiting for the politicos and judicials and simply do what must be done.
The RuleOfLaw® supported Adolf Hitler. At Nuremburg we determined that the Rule of Right was more important and the citizens were required to follow it.
WE both want Terri to live, thats for sure.
Re a divorce proceeding, it has been stated that only Terri could bring the suit.
She is caught in a perfect circle where she cannot free herself from the man who wishes her dead.
Again, people quote the "law" when they say that her parents may not act for her.
|my understanding from the text of the law is that Congress itself required a de novo review.
Yes, but isn't it true that the judge can only rule on the case brought by Plaintiff? If the Plaintiff himself bases his plea on errors by Greer in the state proceedings, where does that leave the federal judge?
Have you read Whittemore's decision? He knows he's supposed to do a de novo review of the facts, but that isn't the case Plaintiff brought. The Plaintiff brought an appeal, based on alleged procedural errors by Greer. He left Whittemore no choice but to rule as he did.
Please look at this. You might be in a position to help. I'm not even a lawyer. To me it looks like the Schindlers' attorney totally missed the significance of having an opportunity to have the "findings of fact" re-visited. That is the key to saving Terri's life. So long as Greer's "finding of fact" that Terri is PVS stands, there is no chance. But there are enough doctors saying she isn't PVS to cast doubt on that "fact," and that's the only way to get her out of that hospice alive.
Even if we are both right, there is no chance for another lawyer, even if he were not an unknown in the middle of nowhere, to change the case that now exists, for the better. Assume a different lawyer with a different theory, starting right now.
That would have to start in the District Court. Because of the prior case, a new trial court would probably say no, as would a new panel of the 11th Circuit, and then Terri would die before the Supreme Court heard the case.
Terri Schaivo has only one realistic option now. The whole 11th Circuit must decide to take the case, and must reverse the trial court. I don't see the Supreme Court taking the case. Press reports on that option are, as usual, incorrect. Although it would be presented to Justice Kennedy for a single-judge decision, he would then refer the matter to all other Justices to dissent or concur.
There may be additional litigation, even after Terri Schaivo dies, but the 11th Circuit en banc possibility is her last chance for life.
John / Billybob
I serve as an on-call attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association. The presumption in favor of children exist as long as the child is a minor or a dependent. They certainly do not exist when the child marries. At that point they are clearly emancipated.
Well, bless you for that.