Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thoughts on Terri

In light of today's death of Terri Schiavo, activists who are fighting for Terri's life will refocus their energies. The third branch of government should beware. If you think judicial nominations are going to be contentious during this session of Congress, think again. The battles ahead will be brutal. Pressure on red state Senators will be intense.

Agreeing with Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer ruled that Terri would have wanted to die in her present state. The result of that ruling was to establish as fact for the purposes of further judicial review that Terri wants to die. Despite the claims of the media that the courts have made numerous findings over the past decade and a half upholding Judge Greer's ruling, there is only one finding of fact in the case - Judge Greer's. Congress and the President's motivation in entering the fray was to have the case re-considered de-novo. Clearly, I am not a lawyer; however, my understanding is that this case was to be re-considered with all the facts back on the table. Congress and the President only asked for the same due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments that convicted killers get. The judiciary decided to ignore the wishes of the other two branches of government instead. They even went so far as to admonish the President and Congress for getting involved. The judiciary is fast establishing itself as a ruling class that has limited checks on its power. This issue has the potential to ignite a movement.

Terri was disabled and mentally damaged. The extent of her mental deterioration will probably never be determined with certainty. We will never know her true mental capacity because her husband refused to allow a PET scan. As a result, she was subjected to dehydration and starvation until she died. She was not terminal. There was no artificial life-saving apparatus attached to her. Make no mistake...she was killed. If you deny any of us food and water, we will eventually die as well.

I assume that for anyone with a disabled child or loved one, this is particularly troubling. What happens if they can no longer take care of the loved one and the "state" takes over? At what point does a disability become so inconvenient that we, as a society, decide that "they" are better off meeting their Maker? Is it really about them or about us? What of the millions of Baby Boomers who are now hitting their retirement years? Are they the next potential victims of the "Culture of Death?" How inconvenient for all of us to have sick, elderly parents pushing up the costs of Medicare and Social Security! Just think where medical technology will take us in the next 20 years. Life and death decisions for the unborn, disabled, and elderly will be much more complex.

Defining "quality of life" is troublesome at best..sinister at worst. I truly believe that a three month old baby who smiles at your facial expressions or gets excited at the sound of your voice has a quality of life. Who's to say Terri didn't enjoy the same?



At 6:50 PM, Blogger E. Rush said...

Here's a quote I heard from a UT law student:

"Thank God the Judiciary stepped in to check the other two branches of government. They were clearly out of control."

I guess she hadn't taken constitutional law yet. Generally, when one branch of government is in disagreement with the other two, it is being checked, as opposed to checking.

I don't bring up the quote to build a straw man argument, but to illustrate your point about the Judiciary being unchecked. If the Legislative and Executive branches can not successfully check the Judiciary, who or what can?


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