To put it bluntly, this case disgusts me. How can we maintain our faith in our legal system when the machinery of the state, that offers so much protection to criminals and terrorists, is being used to kill an innocent person like Terri Schiavo?
The Supreme Court upheld a ruling that extended the All Writs Act protection to the enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay. Yet they refused to even hear arguments in the Schiavo case. As usual the best of the current justices - Antonin Scalia - dissented.
The All Writs Act allows courts to issue orders in aid of their own jurisdiction. This was more than had been asked for by the plaintiffs in the detainees' case. They had originally sought protection under a writ of habeas corpus. As Andrew McCarthy writes on National Review Online, "...the habeas corpus statutes do not provide detainees with a right to counsel - the vast majority of American citizens who file habeas petitions must go it alone."
The U.S. District Court judge (a Clinton appointee) in the case decided that habeas protections weren't enough, and so she used the All Writs Act to grant them the assistance of counsel as well as their day in court. Oh, and you and I are paying for the lawyers for these enemy combatants (you know, the guys trying to kill us).
Contrast this with the courts' treatment of Terri Schiavo. She is an American citizen who has committed no crime. And yet the State of Florida is trying to kill her? Why? Because she married a lout.
In case you weren't aware, Terri Schiavo's "husband" only "remembered" that his wife said she wouldn't want to be kept alive if she were ever in a persistent vegetative state after he had won a judgment of more than a million dollars. The money that was awarded to Schiavo's "husband" was to be used to provide care for Terri. Would it surprise you to learn that if Terri dies the balance of that money would go to this cretin? And did you know that Terri's "husband" has a new girlfriend (with whom he has two children) that he'd like to marry but can't as long as Terri is alive? The "husband"'s conflicts of interest in this case are patent. Yet the Florida courts refused to appoint counsel to represent Terri, ruling that her interests are represented by her "husband".
As I said in the beginning, this case disgusts me. However, it does underscore the importance of a living will. And, as much as you may love your spouse, bet on your parents or siblings. They've always loved you and always will.
For those interested in the legal aspects of this case, I highly recommend the writings of Andrew McCarthy on National Review Online.
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