On the bright side, after two weeks of TV coverage of the Terri Schiavo case, I think we have almost all liberals in America on record saying we can pull the plug on them. Of course, if my only means of entertainment were Air America radio, Barbra Streisand albums and reruns of "The West Wing," I too would be asking: "What kind of quality of life is this?"
There are a few glaring exceptions. On the anti-killing side, to one extent or another, are: former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, former Gore lawyer David Boies, former O.J. lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, McGovern and Carter strategist Pat Caddell, liberal blogger Mickey Kaus, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Rainbow Coalition leader Jesse Jackson, as well as several of my friends who are pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage but not Pro-Adulterous Husbands Who, After Taking Up With Another Woman, Suddenly Recall Their Wives' Clearly Stated Wish to Die.
Opinions about the Schiavo case seem to break down less on morals than on basic knowledge of the facts of the case.
There are a lot of telling facts, but two big ones are:
On the basis of these facts, Pinellas County Judge George Greer found that it was Terri's wish to be starved to death. She requires no life support; all she needs is food and water. If being (a) on a liquid diet, and (b) unresponsive to one's estranged husband are now considered grounds for a woman's execution, wait until this news hits Beverly Hills!
Despite the media's idiotic claims that scores of courts have made painstaking findings of fact over 15 years that Terri is in a permanent vegetative state and would have wanted to die, only one judge made such a finding. Other courts have not made any factual findings whatsoever. They simply refused to overturn Greer's findings of fact as an abuse of discretion.
Greer made his finding based on the testimony of Terri's husband that Terri said she wouldn't want to live like this ? a rather important fact the husband only remembered many years after Terri was first injured, but one year after he won a million-dollar malpractice award and began living with another woman. (Maybe when Terri said, "I wouldn't want to live like that" she was referring to being married to Michael Schiavo.)
Supporting the idea that positions on the Schiavo case are correlated with IQ, on the pro-killing side is Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., who denounced the legislation granting federal courts jurisdiction over Terri's case, saying the Republican Party "has become a party of theocracy." Yes, you remembered correctly: The House passed the bill overwhelmingly in a 203-58 vote, and the Senate passed it in a voice vote also with overwhelming support. (Surely, if anyone would defend the practice of being on a liquid diet, you'd think Ted Kennedy would.)
Also on the pro-killing side are conservatives still pissed off about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 who are desperately hoping to be elected "most consistent constitutionalist" by their local Federalist Society chapters.
You can't grow peanuts on your own land or install a toilet capable of disposing two tissues in one flush because of federal government intervention. But Congress demands a review of the process that goes into a governmental determination to kill an innocent American woman ? and that goes too far!
It's not a radical extension of current constitutional doctrines ? even the legitimate ones! ? for the federal government to assert a constitutional right to life that cannot be denied without due process of law under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. Congress didn't ask for much, just the same due process John Wayne Gacy got.
But people even stupider than lawyers have picked up on the vague rumblings from "most consistent constitutionalist" aspirants and begun to claim that Congress' action is an affront to "limited government."
Of course, the most limited of all possible governments is a king. We don't have that sort of "limited government." What we have is divided government: three branches of government at the federal level and 50 states with their own versions of checks and balances.
Or at least that was the government designed for us by men smarter than we are. We haven't had that sort of government for decades.
Alexander Hamilton's famous last words in "The Federalist" described the judiciary as the "least dangerous branch," because it had neither force nor will. Now the judiciary is the most dangerous branch. It doesn't need force because it has smoke and mirrors and a lot of people defending the moronic scribblings of any judge as the perfect efflorescence of "the rule of law."
This week, an indisputably innocent woman will be killed by the government for one reason: Judge Greer of Pinellas County, Fla., ordered it.
Polls claim that a majority of Americans objected to action by the U.S. Congress in the Schiavo case as "government intrusion" into a "private family matter" ? as if Judge Greer is not also the government. So twisted is our view of the judiciary that a judicial decree is treated like a naturally occurring phenomenon, like a rainbow or an act of God.
Our infallible, divine ruler is a county judge in Florida named George Greer, who has more authority in America than the U.S. Congress, the president and the governor. No wonder the Southern Baptist Church threw Greer out: Only one god per church!
It's a good system if you like monarchy and legally sanctioned murder. But spare me the paeans to "strict constructionism" and "limited government."
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