Sunday, March 27, 2005

There's always more to it than meets the eye

It can be said that up 'til now I have been fairly relentless (and possibly stubborn) in siding with one party on the Terri Schiavo case. Of course, I'd like to think that "party" is Terri herself, with a strong second to the law. And to reiterate a point that I've made continuously, we don't really know what Terri's wishes were--but we do know the law.

Which also means that we know the limits of the law: the law was never meant to decide these types of situations.

I have been "understanding" ("supportive" was the word I initially used, but that doesn't seem exactly correct) of Judge Greer's order to cut off hydration and nourishment for two reasons: a) he was in a court room that I was not and he has experience in these matters that I do not; and 2) with the cards supposedly "stacked against" a conclusion of ending life, he still found clear and convincing evidence that Terri would not seek continued life in her condition. To me, that means that the evidence must have been deemed both reliable and overwhelmingly in favor of the conclusion that was reached.

And then I read something like this (hat tip to Powerline). Now I have no way of knowing that what this lawyer that e-mailed author Steve Sailer is right--and I find it EXTRAORDINARY that ANY lawyer would allow valuable testimony contrary to the interests he/she is representing to be entered into consideration without a challenge of some form (in this case a deposition). . . but it does raise the question: how much of Judge Greer's decision is the result of a difference in the quality of lawyer? I would LIKE to think that the answer is none--but I know that can't be right because good trial lawyers DO make a difference in a case. Is it enough of a difference to overcome a pre-disposed judgement against the position taken by a talented lawyer? Of course it is--I just don't know that it happened here.

(I also point you to the above-linked article simply because later in the page, that same lawyer gives one of the best "what happened to Congress' law" explanation I've read anywhere. To reiterate THIS point, I am no fan of the law that Bush signed early Monday morning simply becuase of the constitutional implications of such a move--although even I was surprised that a temporary injunction was not granted in order to review the law and the actions called for by the law.)

And in company with the above article, read my brother, who links to this article in writing about an attempt to give Terri the sacrament of communion on this holiest of holy days on the Christian calendar. I agree with my brother's take: IF it poses no health and safety HAZARDS to Terri, why deny her the next-to-last sacrament she will receive? And why, Mr. Michael Schiavo, open yourself up to "evidence" that you seek to prevent Terri from practicing her religious beliefs?

I'm all about giving Judge Greer the benefit of the doubt--that his finding was a result of clear and reliable evidence that spoke of Terri's mindset as best we can judge it after-the-fact. (I would be interested to see his notes on the case, just for curiousity's sake) I'm not, however, so willing to give Michael such a benefit. I guess it's a good thing that Judge Greer pretty much discounted Michael's testimony from the get-go (or at least that's how I read the decision).

Of course, it really doesn't matter now. May we all pray for Terri's soul as it draws ever nearer to its final stop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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