Saturday, March 26, 2005
Tearing up the Constitutions to Save Terri
A complaint that began when "Terri's Law" (from last year) that our attempts to save Terri from Michael was that we were tearing up the Constitutions (US and FL). My own reply is "So what, if they allow an innocent to die, they deserve to be torn up."
This is also discussed as "form over substance". This is from the latest Andrew McCarthy article in NRO:
This is the worst kind of "form over substance" claim. A state court has issued an order that has no other purpose and effect than to kill Terri Schiavo. Without that order, she would be living unthreatened and being sustained today. Because of it, she is being detained, those who would help her are being kept at bay by the police, and she is being slowly killed. Functionally, this situation is no different from the entry of a judgment in a capital case ordering an execution.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:06 PM Permalink
The rule of law meets the rule of guns
This story is going to be worth a footnote in the textbooks on executive authority vs. judicial authority. The local police according to the Miami Herald were prepared to resist with armed force, a legal order from the governor taking Terri Schindler into custody as a abused disabled adult.
Police 'showdown' over Schiavo averted : Miami Herald
A judge lacks the authority to tell the police to do anything. It's part of the separation of powers. I'm going to quess that after this is over, there will be a investigation. It's one thing for a high school student to read a defective history text and come away with the impression that a judge's word is law, it's another for the police to draw their guns based on that mistaken belief.
See also blogsforterri.com
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 PM Permalink
Last appeal turned down : AP
A state judge on Saturday rejected another attempt by Terri Schiavo's parents to have her feeding tube reconnected, rejecting what the couple's lawyer described as their last chance to keep their severely brain-damaged daughter alive.
The last sentence contradicts what I heard on WABC, namely that Schindlers believe that all legal options to restore the feeding tube have ended.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 PM Permalink
The Lies Keep Coming
Talkradio: "...life support...", "...heroic measures...","...extraordinary means..."
Reply: She can breathe on her own. She can't eat on her own - maybe she can but no one has attempted to see if she can.
Hypotheticals: "...but what if she had a living will...", "...but what if she understood what her Church taught..."
Reply: We have to deal with the fact at 25 she wasn't anticipating her own death.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:43 AM Permalink
Friday, March 25, 2005
'No Substantial Likelihood of Success': The Curse Pronounced by a New God : Mike Thompson
In rejecting Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schindler's appeal to save their braindamaged daughter, Terri Schiavo, from certain death by court-ordered dehydration and starvation, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore wrapped himself in his black robe and announced imperiously from his court in Tampa, Florida, that he had denied their petition, because it had no "substantial likelihood of success."
There will be One who judges these judges.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:56 PM Permalink
Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death : New York Times (03/20)
To many people, death by removing a feeding tube brings to mind the agony of starvation. But medical experts say that the process of dying that begins when food and fluids cease is relatively straightforward, and can cause little discomfort.
Fr. Rutler commented on this: I'll believe it when I see a New York Times editor try it.
(the article continues...) In fact, declining food and water is a common way that terminally ill patients end their lives, because it is less painful than violent suicide and requires no help from doctors.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:28 PM Permalink
America is starving
Fr. Rutler began "America is starving. The cars and trucks continue to run up and down Park Ave. but we are starving." The Seven Words of Christ from the Cross in an overflowing Church of Our Savior -- three hours that seemed like three minutes.
The themes that I recall:
And because it was Fr. Rutler it was full of references to Christians and non-Christians of history: Bl. Fr. Damien of Molokai, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward John Smith (Captain, RMS Titanic), Friedrich Nietzsche, Mother Teresa, the Holy Father, and St Paul and others too many to recall.
We are blessed in New York City to have many fine priests.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:44 PM Permalink
Started with the Divine Mercy Novena.
Off to the Church of Our Saviour where Fr. Rutler will be preach on the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross I will blog on that later.
Pray for Terri, her family, and this country which has knowingly, constitutionally killed an innocent human being.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:55 AM Permalink
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Culture of Death Watch: Keep your eyes and ears open.
Like that caller to Laura Ingraham today, I heard another one during the 10 pm television news.
What purpose does her life have? C'mon.God help you girl, when you are disabled and inconvenient to someone with access to the courts...
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:20 PM Permalink
Florida Supreme Court says let Terri starve : AP
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday refused to overturn a judge's order blocking the state from taking temporary custody of Terri Schiavo, another setback in her parents' battle to keep their brain-damaged daughter alive.
I think that was the last legal opening for Jeb Bush.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:42 PM Permalink
Jeb Bush's options
Except for pleading to the Florida Supreme Court to let DCF do its job, I can't see how he can reverse Greer's restraining order on him.
Bush would not only be exposed to impeachment, but if Florida law was described correctly, risks arrest.
I don't understand why Bush tipped his hand at the press conference on Wednesday. Who knows if Bush just did what he said he had the authority to do where things would be now?
Who knows what will happen if the local police on the scene get one phone call from Greer and another from Bush what will happen?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:51 PM Permalink
Two worldviews on Terri
One worldview, the view that sees "good" in the Supreme Courts decision not to provide a TRO, is that the law was followed. If we are to be under the "rule of law", then we must accept that for special cases like Terri we can't tear up the laws and the constitution.
This worldview is tragically wrong and immoral. This worldview allows the horrors of the French Revolution, Communism, Nazism, etc. to start and to thrive.
If Terri were suffering a penalty imposed under criminal law, the governor could commute the penalty.
What's going on here is the law of unintended consequences:
(1) "substituted judgment" as guardian, Michael makes all the decisions regarding Terri's medical care and that includes a right to refuse medical care.
(2) "medical care" were redefined under Florida law to include food and water.
(3) Greer accepts that Terri's wishes were to die of thirst should she end up like Karen Quinlan.
(4) Greer accepts that Terri has wound up like Karen Quinlan and all precedents which applied in that case apply to Terri.
It's not one lie but a network of things which are half-true.
To follow this is to make a idol of law.
The other worldview, puts Terri's right to life first.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:20 PM Permalink
Kill Terri and the Pope too
A self-identified Catholic called the Laura Ingraham show and compared the good outcome of Terri's killing with the Pope's need to die and move on.
It's odd that's he's hanging on so long.
Laura was outraged and hung up on the caller.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:45 AM Permalink
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Greer Dictates : Town Hall/CNS
"DCF is hereby restrained from taking possession of Theresa Marie Schiavo or removing her from Hospice Woodside, administer nutrition or hydration artificially or otherwise interfere with this court's final judgment," Greer said.
How is this prior restraint on the executive branch legal if there's another law the governor seeks to enforce where the matter is not before Greer?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:06 PM Permalink
Reading about Terri in other blogs This is updated every six hours.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:45 PM Permalink
Starved for Justice : Ann Coulter
If Gov. Jeb Bush doesn't say something similar to the Florida courts that have ordered Terri Schiavo to die, he'll be the second Republican governor disgraced by the illiterate ramblings of a state judiciary. Gov. Mitt Romney will never recover from his acquiescence to the Massachusetts Supreme Court's miraculous discovery of a right to gay marriage. Neither will Gov. Bush if he doesn't stop the torture and murder of Terri Schiavo.
I don't think Jeb Bush can wait for Anthony Kennedy to act, and in spite of the courageous dissent written by Charles Wilson, it is very unlikely that the Supreme Court will provide a TRO.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:19 PM Permalink
Will Jeb Bush act to save Terri
Gov. Jeb Bush said today his social services agency may step in to have her feeding tube reinstated.
The governor may decide that he has statutory authority to act and preserve Terri at least until the DCF investigation in completed.
If the Supreme Court fails to accept the mandated de novo review, I expect a heavy political cost to be paid by the judicial branch.
I hope that even now as I'm writing this the appropriate legal authority is being drawn up to take custody of Terri.
Once Terri is compentently and independently examined and evaluated, I'm sure it will trigger a cascade of events to remove Michael's guardianship.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:34 PM Permalink
Florida Senate Rejects Written Requirement for Withdrawal of Food and Water
TALLAHASSEE Fla. — The Florida Senate rejected a bill Wednesday to keep Terri Schiavo alive as the brain-damaged woman's parents were running out of options to have her feeding tube reinserted.
Abandoning their constitutional duty to the courts -- another version of "the judiciary has spoken".
All 21 who voted for the defeat of this bill need to be voted out of office.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:12 PM Permalink
A thought just came to me
We are led to believe that from 1990 when Terri's brain was damaged, Michael knew, and in fact, had known her wishes.
What's happened to Terri since 1990? Basically nothing except neglect.
What's happened to Michael since 1990? A great deal. His change from seeking to keep Terri alive, to seeking to kill Terri took place as the circumstances in his life changed.
His standing as guardian is poisoned by conflicts of interest. I cannot see how courts failed to see this.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:39 PM Permalink
Some background items on the Bishop Brom statement of regret on the application of Canon 1184 denying a funeral to John McCusker.
This item is from the San Diego Union discussion forum.
The CATHOLIC CHURCH SOILS ITSELF Brom, the Bishop of the Catholic diocese of San Diego has appointed himself as the local proxy for God.
This is the often repeated "the Church has lost all its moral authority because of the sexual abuse scandal" pattern.
Obviously, the San Diego Union is well-informed and passed on this planned event in time for the March 21 edition of the paper.
Members of San Diego's gay and lesbian community will meet tonight to discuss how to respond to Bishop Robert Brom's decision not to allow Catholic funeral ...
Date: March 18, 2005
Note the text we have been reading is not an official press release of the diocese. As far as I know, the full text is not no any web site.
In a statement released by McCusker's family Monday night, the bishop was quoted as saying: "I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral for John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation, and I apologize to the family for the anguish this has caused them."
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:03 AM Permalink
Timeline for the Bishop Brom controversy and more comment from me
March 13 John McCusker, 31 dies.
March 18 Diocese of San Diego denies him a Catholic funeral under Canon 1184 as a "manifest sinner".
March 18 extremeCatholic blogs it.
March 18 The gay and lesbian community communicates, organizes and demands apology
March 21 Bishop Brom issues a statement of regret and apology.
March 21 Amy Welborn blogs it.
When I first went into the comment boxes there I wasn't critical of the bishop. Frankly, I was sympathetic because he appeared to have been naive of what the reaction would be in the gay and lesbian community to this equation of their beloved nightclub owner with the likes of John Gotti who also was denied a Catholic funeral.
Some have characterized it as a threat of blackmail. The implication that some in the gay and lesbian have knowledge of homosexual activities of clergy and are using that knowledge to leverage specific actions by Bishop Brom. This is not without precedent. Archbishop Weakland, Bishops O'Connell, Ziemann, and Dupre all admitted to being blackmailed in order to prevent the release of damaging information of the homosexual activities of themselves or others. I don't have reason to believe that Bishop Brom is being blackmailed in this way.
What I believe is that Bishop Brom succumbed to pressure to issue a personal statement of regret and a third-party apology for "condemnation".
Whether this "condemnation" was real or imagined, I don't know. The bishop didn't name names or indicate he knew names. The "straw man" -- the man that the bishop apologizes for -- has yet to surface.
... I think the bishop is saying that it's not in conflict with scripture and the moral teachings of the Church to operate a gay nightclub. He was wrong about that, and he's apologizing. But I could be wrong about that, and if I am, I will apologize to the bishop.This is basically what the new critics of Bishop Brom are criticizing him for -- they argue that having made up his mind, he needs to stick to his guns.
This is how I unpack the statement:
This statement is quite artfully written. It doesn't flatly contradict the original analysis on the application of Canon 1184. It doesn't deny the sinfulness of the deceased. It doesn't apologize to the community. It's a limited statement to the family avoiding any admission of wrong-doing on the part of the bishop. It's like having your cake and eating it too. Bill Cork and Mark Shea admire that.
The direction of the discussion in Amy's blog shifted when Mark Shea made a sarcastic argument in support of Bishop Brom. He stated that the bishop acted charitably.
As true and self-evident that is, the more important motivation is that he correctly anticipated a pink wave of hatred for that that had been building in the 48 hours following the announcement of his decision. This became a big topic on discussion boards on March 18/19. I think in part because a lot of people who tragically spend too much time discussing current events were online discussing the Schiavo case.
You have to pick the hill you die on. Gay and lesbians in massive protests around the Catholic institutions of San Diego over this funeral would be the wrong fight at the wrong time (i.e. Holy Week). I admire the zeal, communication, organization, and unity of purpose of the gay and lesbian community to influence Bishop Brom.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:45 AM Permalink
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Schiavo's Parents Appeal After Judge Declines to Order Feeding : New York Times
Mrs. Schindler, pausing briefly as she arrived at the hospice here in the late afternoon, said: "Please, senators, for the love of God, I'm begging you, don't let my daughter die of thirst."
It would be wrong if they were not demons, but they are doing the devil's work if they allow Michael Schiavo to kill Terri.
What's the point of all this government and law if it can't protect Terri Schiavo?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:53 PM Permalink
No action at the Federal Court of Appeals
The best thing I've read tonight was Andrew McCarthy's (NRO) discussion of the Federal District Court decision denying a TRO on the restoration of the feeding tube.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:49 PM Permalink
Rush loses the debate with the caller
A really well-prepared kill-Terri advocate called, and Rush was flustered.
I wanted to scream at Rush -- do let the caller rope-a-dope you.
The rope a dope is that when the caller went to the specifics of the Schiavo case, he moved to the general case for all families -- when Rush moved to the general case, he moved to the specifics of the Schivao case.
The lack of a written, witnessed, dated living will should be evidence of doubt regarding her intentions. This applies specifically to the Schivao case and to all families facing a similiar situation.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:38 PM Permalink
A real review de novo is going to take some time.
To preserve Schindler's rights, there has to be a TRO to prevent Terri from harm or even death. The fact that James Whittemore did not order the nutrition and hyradation resumed is a very bad sign.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:30 AM Permalink
Monday, March 21, 2005
Summary of Letter from the Attorney for Terri Schiavo's Parents [Robert Destro] to Chairman Sensenbrenner Regarding Legislation Congress Is Considering
[comments in square brackets are mine]
(1) The guardianship court [Judge George Greer] compromised his judicial independence when the he appointed himself, rather than an independent guardian ad litem, to serve as Terri Schiavo's health care proxy.
(2) The Florida courts permitted Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo and his attorney to represent Terri's interests notwithstanding the Florida courts own admission that his interests were adverse to hers.
(3) The Florida courts did not appoint a guardian ad litem for Terri, nor did they provide her with counsel to argue and protect her interests. The result was a situation in which Terri herself had no assistance of counsel in a case in which her life hangs in the balance. [so Michael's attorneys were representing Michael's interests and not Terri's]
(4) The way the Florida courts applied the state's law and constitution to incapacitated persons with severe cognitive disabilities violated her rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteen Amendment. After Terri's case, the only persons in the State of Florida who are not entitled to an independent judiciary and effective representation are incapacitated persons who cannot speak for themselves.
(5) The state court order under which Terri's nutrition and hydration is currently being withheld was entered after a proceeding tainted by “structural defect” that call the integrity of the entire fact finding process in to question. As a result, we simply do not know either “what Terri wants” or what her current medical condition actually is.
(6) The state court order violates the standards set out in both federal and state precedents that recognize the right to self-determination in health-care decisionmaking. Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261, 280 (1990) and Guardianship of Browning, 568 So.2d 4, 12 (Fla.1990). Both of those cases recognize that accuracy, not finality, is essential in any case where a guardian has asked for a judicial decree authorizing the death of the a person with a severe disability such as Terri's. [more knowledge of Terri's medical status and not more haste is called for]
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:24 PM Permalink
More lies on Terri (Abstract and Distract)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:03 PM Permalink
Mark Levin on NRO on Terri's Right to Life
The right to live, or more specifically, the right not to be killed, is a fundamental right. And it's a right recognized in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. So ingrained in our society is the notion of life, that the 8th Amendment prohibits "cruel and usual punishment" (even short of death) and the 14th Amendment prohibits states from depriving any person of life without due process of law. This has nothing to do with federalism, unless you ignore the 8th and 14th Amendments. (Unlike the Left, that contorts the 14th Amendment, I'm recognizing its literal meaning.)
Mark has nailed it on political dimensions of the debate.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:08 PM Permalink
Special St. Blogs Ring Focus on Terri Schiavo
My angelic bot has done a complete read of the approximatey 500 blogs of the St. Blog's Ring and prepared this list of recently updated blogs containing the text "Schiavo" or "Schivao" (the common mispelling of her name)
This page is auto-updated every 6 hours. Let me know if you need this as a plain xml file.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:58 AM Permalink
Wonkadelica wrote in the WABC Discussion Board
Someone needs to make a credible case for why Terry Schiavo's husband would refuse to divorce her, refuse a $10M bribe to just walk away and get on with his life! He never profited from her insurance settlement.
Someone needs to make a credible case for why Terry Schiavo's husband would
Update: Wonadelica replied and I replied.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:30 AM Permalink