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The Legal Battle Over Terri

Andrew McCarthy does a good job dissecting the issues in the 11th Circuit's denial of an injunction against Michael Schiavo. While I think the courts have been right in granting a level of deference to Judge Greer and his proceedings, I think it is legitimate that the constitutional claims be examined before Terri is left to die. But, even if the merits were heard, I have a hard time believing there would be a different result. Some point to Judge Greer's reliance on hearsay, a valid point, but that doesn't seem to be the sum and substance of his ruling, from what little I know of it.


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My understanding is that absolutely no deference is to be given to Greer by the terms of the law duly passed by Congress. The federal court is to look at the record de novo. The beef here is based on certain perceived flaws in Greer's jurisprudence. He has made some questionable calls, and then uniformly rejected motions based upon irregularities stemming from those calls.

As McCarthy pointed out, Congress could have gone further, could have attempted to order a stay or even a new trial in a federal court, but refrained. Though I disagree, I see why. But it seems to me that the one reason for this Congressional restraint was that they calculated that a federal review of the facts would be enough to stop Terri's immediate starvation and to allow a new court to rule. If a federal court looks at the record de novo and decides in favor of the husband, thatg takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of public indignation.

What we are witnessing is unmitigated judicial arrogance. Congress has become quite subservient to the federal judiciary, but when Congress decides to have a backbone every once in a while, the federal courts react. This happened when Congress dared to issue sentencing guidelines and it is happening now. As a political branch, and the dominant one, they are not about to be directed to review a case. The plain intent of the law cannot be mistaken. It is best for everyone if a federal court hears the case. Terri's family gets their day in court. The pro-life movement would find it easier to swallow. Congress would have done all it could constitutionally do. Its better for everyone, but not for the federal judiciary itself.

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