Saturday, 26 March 2005

Disliking both sides of an argument

For most of the Terri Schiavo controversy, I’ve sided with the Schindlers. The ideal outcome, given that the daughter had the medical problems to begin with, would have been to let the parents take custody of her and have Michael Schiavo divorce her and move on. The time for that has passed, though.

When the week started, I was a little concerned that opponents of Congress’s move to allow federal jurisdiction would claim that it was unconstitutional, when the Constitution allows Congress to set the jurisdiction of cases. As a matter of custom we usually don’t allow this, but it’s unclear that it’s unconstitutional. It appeared to me that the opponents of the move were themselves being selective—and dishonest—in claiming that it’s unconstitutional.

Now it seems that the Schindlers have gone overboard. They’re obviously interested in seeing their daughter, but they’ve shown themselves to be too hysterical for anyone to accept their judgment. They made political threats against the Republicans in Congress and against Jeb Bush; one of their “expert” doctors is a quack; and, they’re making unverifiable claims that their daughter tried to speak before the tube was removed. Clearly they can’t be trusted on future decisions about the matter. To make things even worse, they’ve brought Randall Terry into the mix, which is never a good sign.

I started the week off thinking that Congress and the President did a good thing by allowing the federal courts to have a look at this. In the mean time it has become clear that the other supporters of that decision won’t be happy until they get the right outcome, regardless of what the law says. Every time a decision that goes against them is made, they move the goalposts and no-one will be spared from their wrath. I hope the Republicans (and I, also) never fall for an attempt to pander to hysterics again.

For more of their misadventures, see the attacks on Donald Sensing, here and here.


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[Permalink] 1. mungowitz wrote @ Sat, 26 Mar 2005, 8:12 pm CST:

amen, bro. I end up feeling sympathy for the opponents of whoever spoke last.


I’ll stack up my Randall Terry hating credentials against anybody else’s, but I don’t blame the Schindlers for enlisting him or anyone else they can find. As to “getting the right outcome,” the federal statute called for a de novo trial, which they never got. Felos easily beat the poor man’s lawyer the Schindlers relied on in the original trial, but I doubt he could pull that off a second time against the lawyers they have working for them now. Would the Schindlers be just as upset if a real trial before a real judge revealed that Terri really did want to die, and an MRI or PET scan revealed that she really is dead already? I don’t know, but I do know that many of their supporters (myself included) would be.



I read a post by Althouse and she claims that the judges did what Congress asked.


Yeah, I end up feeling this way about a lot of controversial issues. Very difficult.

[Permalink] 4. flaime wrote @ Tue, 29 Mar 2005, 9:54 am CST:
I hope the Republicans (and I, also) never fall for an attempt to pander to hysterics again.

As long as the Evangelical Right continues to dominate the party leadership, they will jump at every oportunity to pander to hysterics that serves their theocratic purpose, I believe.


I read that article, too, but found it to be a cop-out. It’s one thing to comply with the precise text of a statute when the actual intent is unknown or unknowable. It’s quite another to know damned well what the law was intended to do, and to intentionally thwart that purpose by refusing to do what’s necessary to preserve the “evidence” long enough to conduct the one and only trial the law was intended to bring about.

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