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March 29, 2005

Notes from the Garden Journal: On Those Judicial Tyrants

Ruminations on Terri Schindler and the future of the courts

 

 

 

-Martin Kite-Powell

 

 

Truly the wheels of justice move slowly in this country, but that is actually a blessing. Our government was purposefully designed to do just that because our founders knew that a government which could rashly act with little effort was one which threatened the people.

 

If you’re like me, just a lay-person watching the Shiavo case unfold, you’ve had little option but to turn off the news for the past few days. The scope and magnitude of the Terri Schindler tragedy is so great no one with any conscience or the weakest sense of right or wrong – and who knows of the horrors of Stalin and Hitler as well as the details of this particular case – could honestly not be deeply grieved by the dangerous foray that is this most heinous violation not only of Terri’s basic human right to live, but her right to be free from a painful and extended death at the hands of another person.

 

I posted about this earlier someplace else and someone brought up a point I thought was a valid one. The point is that the husband’s right to make decisions for his incapacitated wife (or the wife for her incapacitated husband) trumps those held by anyone else. This is recognized not only in the American legal system, but also by the laws within both Judaism and Christianity. But that is not really the question at play here, as many have already noted. It is whether that right continues to be recognized when evidence points to factors which diminish the care-taking spouse’s trustworthiness to execute faithfully their responsibilities in the interest of their charge. As I stated elsewhere tonight, as a matter of morals - and we thought I'm sure the law - No husband has the right to slowly murder his wife by starving and dehydrating her to death, as in Terri’s case or to quickly murder her by beating her over the head or doing any number of other things one might be so inclined to do to cause life-threatening harm to his or her spouse. It has been a long-standing concept that one surrenders his rights when he attempts to infringe on those of another citizen. That fact in the case of the Schindler’s and Shiavo’s renders all else moot. In a healthy situation, the state would have fulfilled its roll and Michael would have immediately forfeited recognition of all rights to her charge when he:

 

 

1. Committed adultery, bore two children with another woman and took up residence with the new woman.

 

2. After suing an earlier doctor for malpractice and promising to use the money for Terri's rehabilitation during the trial, afterward never spending a cent for such.

 

3. Was alleged to have abused emotionally (and perhaps physically) and was suspected of being unfaithful to Terri even well-before her "accident", based on the testimony of Terri's closest friends.

 

4. ...along with his case were brought into question when testimony by an equal number of physicians along with that of several individuals who were once as disabled as Terri now is, but were able to recover speech and even sufficiently as to rejoin society in some form or another, presented a reasonable doubt as to her permanent or even “persistent vegetative” state.

 

5. Sought to have her killed by starvation and dehydration.

 

 

 

Perhaps in a court unlike that of the tyrant Greer's in which the facts were not fully explored or the 11th circuit et al where the outright refusal to grant de novo review prevented those facts from ever becoming part of the appeal, Terri would have been protected, as per our own Declaration of Independence which promises to protect for us among all else, Life (not to mention the 8th and 14th amendments which provide that life, liberty or property cannot be taken without due process).

 

When Terri dies, the real issue behind this will just be getting started. Between this and the case which is just now coming before the U.S. Supreme Court: whether we are legally bound by decisions made by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, it will probably be the beginning of the end for the judicial tyranny as we know it along with the odious decisions such as the one which allowed this travesty in Terri's case.

 

Still, what we want to see most from Congress and the president is to muster the courage they need to address this matter four-square. Remember that Thomas Jefferson while president fired about half of the then-sitting federal judges. Furthermore, I think the question of whether a lower court can override a congressional subpoena will also be addressed ad nauseum. Congress' response I thought might better have been, “you made your ruling, now let’s see you enforce it”, and a case for that could be made. But no matter what side one may take on whether congress, the president and governor Bush were as proactive as everyone thinks they should have been, it is vital we continue to remember the imperfect, yet blessed following truth: We are a country ruled by laws and when judges or anyone else breaks those laws, there are appropriate remedies for addressing it. But the wheels do turn slowly- too slowly for Terri’s case, but in the big picture they may well end up preventing a lot more “Terri’s”. 

 

 

 

Related:

 

Michelle Malkin links to another excellent piece by Mark Steyn in which his logic utterly vivesects the pro-death-for-Terri camp. In the part she quotes he says,

 

There seems to be a genuine dispute about her condition -- between those on her husband's side, who say she has ''no consciousness,'' and those on her parents' side, who say she is capable of basic, childlike reactions. If the latter are correct, ending her life is an act of murder. If the former are correct, what difference does it make? If she feels nothing -- if there's no there there -- she has no misery to be put out of.

 

Also see this

 

And Insane Troll's blog notices who "hasn't got time for the pain." He quotes a supporter of Terri's death by starvation attempting to sidestep reality:

 

In advanced cases of ketosis, the nervous system response is dulled, and patients rarely feel pain, hunger or thirst. There is also some evidence that ketosis can produce a state of well-being or mild euphoria.

 

To which he responds, "'Patients rarely feel pain'? Er, somehow that doesn't comfort me."

 

It didn’t comfort me either.

 

It seems to imply someone on the pro-death side left out what happens in cases of ketosis, mellitus and starvation/dehydration in general until they become “advanced”. But I don’t even play a doctor on TV, so how could I have common sense?

 

 

Posted by Martin at March 29, 2005 12:06 AM

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