Monday, March 21, 2005

Inconsistencies abound--UPDATED

In my own positions, that is. . .or so it would appear. But give me a moment, if you would.

The President signed this morning into law the bill that would grant Terri's parents the standing to file in a U.S. District Court for a review of possible violations of Terri's Constitutional rights.

I am not a fan of this bill.

Why, you might ask, would I "side" with a mostly-Democratic party position that calls for the court-ordered removal of the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo? Why would I, a person who values life more than choice, be of the mind that this life should be ended?

Here is why: because defending the principles of this country are more important than one life.

Because I believe that the proper avenues to get a result other than this have been exhausted, all to no avail.

Because this law is atrocious. For starters, it grants standing to file a suit on behalf of Terri to someone who is not Terri's legal guardian and who it cannot be proven has Terri's WISHES more at heart than her legal guardian. Then it basically throws out any ruling made in the Florida judicial system about the rights pursuant to the law--you know, ALL of Terri's constitutional rights. Apparently the state of FL doesn't make its decisions in accordance with the Constitution, or at least that's what I get from this legislation. Thirdly, this law clearly states that it is not enacted for precedent's sake. I have to ask: if the law is so precise as to only apply in one possible case, then maybe the "possibility" that should be considered is that the law is an overreach of rights already present in our legal system. Lastly, here is the Sense of the Congress: "It is the Sense of Congress that the 109th Congress should consider policies regarding the status and legal rights of incapacitated individuals who are incapable of making decisions concerning the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of foods, fluid, or medical care." And that's well and good--except that such policies ARE ALREADY IN PLACE! And amazingly enough, the policies got in place without anything as dramatic as this law.

Again, I must reiterate: WE STILL DON'T KNOW THAT TERRI WOULD WANT TO BE KEPT IN A VEGETATIVE STATE. When her closest campanion in life says otherwise, why can we not--as a society--accept that as the way she would want things to be? And why would the Congress feel it knows Terri's will better than her husband?

Indeed, why do any of us think that?

BUT, on the other hand, I do agree with crux the President's statement: "In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life".

I agree that our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. . .but they don't. Not currently, at least. In fact, the word "should" frightens me in a legal sense--it shows that a course of action is NOT in accordance with the laws of the day. Change the laws AT THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL AND THROUGH THE APPROPRIATE PROCESS. A one-time federal interference is neither of those.

And for the record, I DON'T think there are substantial doubts here. At least not in a legal sense. And from that one statement grow my problems with how this is playing out.

Also, I am not a big fan of a big federal government. This is an issue that has been decided at the state level, has been appealed at the state level--basically it has been exhausted at the state level. There are already appeal processes in place FROM THE STATE LEVEL, and those appeals processes have also been exhausted. In other words, 200-odd years of precedent, procedure and protections of a citizen's rights have been utilized by the Schindler family--but since that doesn't yield a "proper" decision our federal government feels it is necessary to go to this extreme measure? Where does this end? (By the way, I have an answer for you: as much as the legislation says to the contrary, it WILL NOT end here. Guaranteed.)

I have a feeling it doesn't matter--this law won't pass any "Constitutional" test as determined by the courts. Or so say I. . .but I've been surprised by the courts before--ESPECIALLY on matters where governments are assuming powers that I would think they don't have.

It's going to be a crazy week.