Sunday, March 27, 2005

On Judicial Kings, Common Law, and Common Sense...

In the obfuscation surrounding the Terri Schiavo case we first need to understand that the point is not how we would want to be treated if we were in Terri's position. That you or I would not want to be continually fed, were we in the same condition, is completely irrelevant. Consider (from the comments to a previous post),
[u]ltimately this case...is about Theresa Schiavo's right to make her own decision, independent of her parents and independent of her husband....the trial judge [made] a decision that the clear and convincing evidence shows the ward [Mrs. Schiavo] made a decision for herself.
Where did this clear and convincing evidence come from, if not from Terri Schiavo? Could it be... Michael Schiavo? If so, then Terri's life hangs in the balance based on Michael's motives and intent. We must understand that the judicial branch of our government does not hold the trump card, so to speak. We are not mandated to bow down to our judicial rulers. While I am certainly not advocating an_rchy, we must become cognizant of the fact that there are legal ways to correct judicial power-grabbing. The Terri Schiavo execution will serve as a wake-up call with regards to a judicial branch run amuck. Lastly, Michael Schiavo's actions, with regards to his current love, are certainly admissible as indicators of motive and intent. While proceedings behind closed courtroom doors may follow the letter of the law, and thus deal a death blow to Terri in the supposed name of dignity, the common man understands quite well what is happening. Consider (also from comments to a previous post),
...an independent report to Gov. Jeb Bush and the judicial system two years ago said 'the evidence is incontrovertible that [Michael Schiavo] gave his heart and soul to her treatment and care.'[XXX]...The exhaustive 2003 report by Jay Wolfson, professor of public health and medicine at the University of South Florida...
To keep the proper perspective, at the [XXX], simply insert,
as evidenced by the fact that he now shacks up with his girlfriend and has fathered two children by her.
Finally,
...It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life---something he was actively encouraged to do by the Schindlers...He was even encouraged by the Schindlers to date...
Maybe a little clarification is in order here... To impregnate your live-in girlfriend twice is not equivalent to "dating." Again let's try a little common sense - if your spouse were to start dating wouldn't you assume that your marriage was, for all intents and purposes, over? How about if your spouse either impregnated their lover a couple of times (or was impregnated a couple of times)? Who would, in their right mind, not think that such a spouse was anything more than a cheating two-timer? If the judicial branch were truly interested in executing law, they would have declared Michael and Terri divorced, and turned guardianship over to those blood relatives who have continually expressed a desire to love and care for her. While the judicial branch seems confused by Michael's actions, the common man is not.

6 comments:

Glenn said...

Rusty-
My eight year old son came to the same conclusion on his own... If Michael has made a new family with a new woman, then he ought no longer be considered married to Terri. His heart is broken over the fact that Judge Greer can't seem to grasp this fact of common sense judgement.

Paul said...

Michael Schiavo is married to Terri Schiavo. If you don't like that then write to your congresspersons and get them to change the law so that having an affair results in an immediate divorce. But until that comes into effect he is her legal guardian whether you like it or not. As her legal guardian he could have decided to have her life supoprt discontinued, but instead he took the issue to a court to have them look at the evidence and decide, to make sure that he was acting reasnoably.

His activity with his new partner is clearly not respectful of his marriage, but neither is it disrespectful of his wife - she was taken from him 15 years ago, and he has regretfully moved on. I'm glad that your marriage is so strong, and your circumstances so fortunate, that you feel able to cast stones at him.

Tom said...

Rusty, thank you for your thoughts. Here's a litmus test. Excerpt from Wolfson's interview with Keith Olbermann (Bloggerman) over at MSNBC. The words of the guy Jeb Bush and the court appointed as Terri's guardian... ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7012320/)

"Well, I sat with Terri for— I had only a month to do this, and I had to review 30,000 pages of document: medical records, legal records, extraordinary amounts of information. I spent time with her family.  I tried to get to know Terri indirectly, and I spent about 20 days when I was in town by her bedside, as many as four hours at a time..."
 
"And if you don't believe what Michael and others have said about what [Terri] expressed after two funerals of her family members, which would have been in context, who were on respirators and who died.  And she said, 'I don't want to be like that.'  If you don't believe that, then nothing is going to change your mind." (Wolfson's words, but my italics and bolds)

Like Wolfson says---if you don't believe that, then nothing will change your mind. Litmus test time.

No matter what, I appreciate your sincerity, your thinking, your blogging, and we'll disagree on the Schiavo matter.

Sincerely, could I please ask for a couple of your thoughts? I'm interested in how you personally foresee yourself reacting in situations like the Schiavo's and Schindler's situations. (And honestly, I'm WAY done arguing, and this isn't some kind of immature, dumb trick to try and catch you on some trifle. Please feel free to delete me, and kick my rear off your blog if I tried anything like that.)

1. As the Evangelical Christian thinker you are, would you ever say to your wife, "Please don't use extraordinary means to keep me alive should I fall into a PVS."?
2. If you said that to your wife and you fell into a PVS, and haven't come out of it after, say, six or seven years, would you feel comfortable (at this time) imagining your wife dating again?
3. It's foreseeable in my opinion, like the Schiavo-Schindler issue, that family members would be pitted against family member should you fall into a long term PVS. If your wife after seven or eight years asked the doctors to pull the feeding tube, do you think your parents (or a reasonable person who loved and admired you other than your wife) could see that as murder?
4. Could a person who loves you pull the feeding tube? Or rather, could you see it as love that would bring a person to pull your feeding tube?
5. What's your stance on the Roman Catholic Pope's position of PVS? I believe it's that PVS should be continued indefinitely, no matter what the "living will" wishes of the person were before the injury/illness. This would be roughly similar to the Pope's position on suicide---that no one can take their own life.

Again, I respect the sincerity of your thoughts in the Schiavo matter. I futher understand that my questions here could be uncomfortable for any of us, and you might not choose to respond. With respect---Tom.

Res Ipsa said...

You say, "While I am certainly not advocating anarchy, we must become cognizant of the fact that there are legal ways to correct judicial power-grabbing."

My question: what ways are you referring to?

Rusty said...

Tom,

1. As the Evangelical Christian thinker you are, would you ever say to your wife, "Please don't use extraordinary means to keep me alive should I fall into a PVS."?

I don't know if I would tell my wife that (and I don't recall ever expressing such a request to her). I believe that such a desire should be explicitly stated in legal terms (e.g., a living will) rather than verbally expressed to someone (spouse or not). Also, I'm not so sure I really know what I would want in such an instance. I would argue that most people have imagined how they would think in certain circumstances, only to be surprised when the circumstances actually occur and they act differently than they envisioned themselves acting.

2. If you said that to your wife and you fell into a PVS, and haven't come out of it after, say, six or seven years, would you feel comfortable (at this time) imagining your wife dating again?

No. If I was in a PVS and, after six or seven years, my wife wanted to date again. she should get herself divorced from me. The marriage vows we took contained something along the lines of "for better or for worse" and forsaking yourself to no one else."

3. If your wife after seven or eight years asked the doctors to pull the feeding tube, do you think your parents (or a reasonable person who loved and admired you other than your wife) could see that as murder?

Yes I do, although I think the use of the word murder needs to be clarified. For instance, I don't see Michael Schiavo's actions in the same light as those of Scott Peterson's.

4. Could a person who loves you pull the feeding tube? Or rather, could you see it as love that would bring a person to pull your feeding tube?

I can see someone claiming that it was love, but I would argue that their thinking was faulty. It seems to me that such thinking is simply a sanitized version of the "Life Unworthy of Life" argument. Where do we draw the line of which life is unworthy of life? At what point do we not declare, "I wouldn't want to live that way"? So, while the person pulling the feeding tube would see it as an act of love, the logical impact of such an action would be to degrade the sanctity of human life itself.

5. What's your stance on the Roman Catholic Pope's position of PVS?

I'm not familiar with the Roman Catholic position. I can see the merits of their argument, as you've described it. Essentially, if one is still alive, yet one asks to be put to death, it is tantamount to a suicide request.

***********************

Res Ipsa,

My question: what ways are you referring to?

Judicial impeachment is one process.

ReSoT4eM said...

We must understand that the judicial branch of our government does not hold the trump card, so to speak. We are not mandated to bow down to our judicial rulers. While I am certainly not advocating anarchy, we must become cognizant of the fact that there are legal ways to correct judicial power-grabbing.

I agree. Congree must use its constitutional authority to limit the reach of the judiciary, and impeach those members who don't exhibit "good behavior". Thomas Jefferson said:

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy… The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal."