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March 21, 2005

While we're waiting...

Topics: General

It's hard to consider the next step while waiting for yet another judge to pontificate on whether Terri Schiavo should (continue to!) be starved to death. Don't forget to pray; but also, remember that your congresscritters still need to hear from you.

Federal and State representatives still need to hear us say that this travesty should never be allowed to happen again.

Think about the things that have put Terri in this position, and ask yourself which issues most resonate with you.

In guardianship issues, should judges be allowed to ignore evidence of significant trauma in deciding the fitness of a legal guardian? At what point should the question of fitness be an automatic consideration, regardless of who may happen to hold a legal position of authority?

When guardians (ad litem or otherwise) fail to follow the most basic expectations of our society for one entrusted with the well-being of another, at what point should the problem become public and how should the guardianship be removed?

When judges refuse to consider multiple lines of evidence that do not conform to the premises on which a ruling has to be based, at what point (and how) should other branches of government step in?

When a judge has so utterly, miserably, and consistently failed in his duties, at what point should the other branches of government be required to step in? And how should they do it?

Undoubtedly readers of this blog will come to different conclusions on these questions than my own (and no doubt some think the very questions are wildly biased!). That's fine by me. But don't forget, as we wait for the latest development here, that others like Terri need the protection she has not had. Call your representatives, and let them know your thoughts on these issues.

Terri Schiavo is starving. Let's make sure no one else has to go through her suffering at the hands of judges again.

(Postscript: The word "congresscritters" comes from one of the all-time great political cartoons, Walt Kelly's POGO. It's not intended to be an insult.) :)

Posted by powersthatblog at March 21, 2005 3:54 PM

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Has anyone any fingernails left?

Posted by: MoFiZiX Gr4FiX at March 21, 2005 4:16 PM

My fingernails are fine, but the inside of my mouth is in shreds from being bitten. :-P

And I'm hungry. And thirsty.

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 21, 2005 4:19 PM

I'm biting my fingernails off too...plus reloading the site every few seconds hoping for the "judgement".

Posted by: Ceci at March 21, 2005 4:20 PM

BTW, I called Jeb's office again this morning and got a busy signal. That's a good sign, I think. Maybe I should go try it again?

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 21, 2005 4:20 PM

I was just thinking of calling Tom DeLay to thank him for his efforts and ask why they can't go in with authority of congress to protect an appointed witness. Or, was this not an official order, but some sort of "invitation"? Also, why Greer cannot be arrested or whatever they do for contempt of congress.

Posted by: chris K at March 21, 2005 4:21 PM

uhm. why do you actually care godloving people. while one brain dead person is being starved 200 die of hunger. The food for one brain dead person could be put to use maybe?

Posted by: JackM.Forester at March 21, 2005 4:26 PM


Asinine comment. I love how all these "informed" people pipe in when they don't know anything about the case.

She's not brain dead. Even Michael admits that.

Stop putting a spin on this. It's about Terri, that's what this blog is for.

Posted by: Sirena at March 21, 2005 4:28 PM

The DA in Florida declined to enforce the contempt of congress statute against Greer.

And Jack, for the last time, she's not brain dead!!

Keep praying.

Posted by: brad at March 21, 2005 4:29 PM

First, she's not brain dead. Not even close. The argument is whether or not she's PVS (the objective evidence is pretty overwhelmingly against that), and PVS is very different from being brain dead.

That being said, she has the right not to be starved to death by someone else. She has the food available, and people want to help her. Imagine if a court ordered you to not help one of those 200 starving people? Why worry? There's 199 other ones left, right? This isn't about force-feeding somebody. It's about letting caring, loving people help their daughter survive.

Posted by: Joel Thompson at March 21, 2005 4:30 PM

We need to bombard the DA in Florida then. Is it McCabe?

Posted by: Sirena at March 21, 2005 4:30 PM

I have been loading this site frequently as well. This case is so unbelievable to me. How far we have gone down the slippery slope. Your comments are very thought-provoking. The saddest would be to not use this opportunity to affect some real changes in this culture.

Posted by: CeCe at March 21, 2005 4:32 PM

Sirena, I am not sure. I heard this on Hannity's show Friday. I'm checking now.

Posted by: brad at March 21, 2005 4:32 PM

I'll bet Jack M. Forrester never helped a hungry person in his life. Who's he kidding? Enough already!

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 21, 2005 4:34 PM

The more I know about this case, the more I believe there is some major corruption going on with the powers-that-be in Florida. I'm having less and less faith in our judicial system and the law in general. ;-(

Posted by: Sirena at March 21, 2005 4:34 PM

I know that passions and emotions are high and the life of a person should create such feelings.

On the other hand one needs to be careful not to go extreme about very important constitutional issues.

There is a principle of separation of powers which means the branches can not put undue pressure on each other. Therefore, no judge can ever or should ever be put in contempt by congress, the same way no Rep. or Senator should be put in contempt of court by a judge. This would cause severe problems in regard of their ability to their jobs.

The right way is due process. If Judge Greer has acted improperly in his responsibilities as a judge, than the correct process to impeach him must be followed.

While every life is valued and can not be replaced, the value of living is anchored in very important principles of checks and balances that while not perfect hopefully prevent the extreme abuses of power that would be possible otherwise.

Emotions and passions lead in the Weimarer Republic to the suspension of the separation of powers and eventually to a dictatorship.

Let's hope that Terri's life can be saved without disregarding democracy and the rule of law.

On another note... Isn't the fact that Terri still lives proof enough that Terri wants to live ?
I do not belief that a person would survive such a long ordeal like she has if the person wouldn't want to live under those circumstances. No medical treatment can force a person to live if the will to live has expired.

Posted by: lawfan at March 21, 2005 4:44 PM

I understand everyone's concern for this poor woman, but being a nurse I watched a young boy in this same condition grow into a young man of 21, injured at age 11, he had no quality of life as we know it, constant infections from the tube feedings and ventilator, load him up with antibiotics cause another infection, this went on all these years till he finally couldn't take anymore but the discomfort all those years of putting him through I.V. & antibiotic therapy, suctioning frequently, etc. And I watched my mother pass away very comfortably, no feeding tube, nothing to eat for about 2 weeks, the doctor managed to keep her comfortable. It is my belief that no matter what is done to her, when God gets ready for her He will take her, and you never know maybe God is in control right now. We can sit back and watch this poor woman's story unfold on t.v. when in fact this goes on hundreds of times per day. Maybe she had let her husband know what she wanted in case something like this happened to her, I know I've told my husband, yet I don't have a living will, this little incedence will certainly get me on the ball to do this before Congress tells my husband he can't take me off a feeding tube or life support. If you haven't seen a person in this condtion, by all means you should visit your local hospital, nursing home or "vegetable garden" as some are called. D.B.

Posted by: Dianne B at March 21, 2005 4:47 PM

Tom DeLay's line is busy too. Wonder what other suggestions he's getting?

Posted by: chris k at March 21, 2005 4:47 PM


How does your argument hold up if BTK greer was never legally on the ballot and never legally elected?

Posted by: Tress at March 21, 2005 4:48 PM

"uhm. why do you actually care godloving people. while one brain dead person is being starved 200 die of hunger. The food for one brain dead person could be put to use maybe?"

--He shipwrecked, kindles on the coast false fires, that others may be lost.--

Posted by: Baillie at March 21, 2005 5:00 PM

I hear ya sirena! The more I read about Judge Greer the more I am confused why he is even still a judge at all. He is suppose to be there to protect the rights of all, not just Michael Schiavo. I think they need a major overhaul down there in the courthouse. The thought of Judge Greer sitting on a bench makes my stomach sink.

Posted by: adrienne at March 21, 2005 5:07 PM

Dianne, there's no way Terry can get an infection from the vent. She's not on one. They haven't done a swallow test to see if she can eat. They haven't done the gold-standard test to determine PVS. She's only had a CAT scan, which is like looking in her ear. No MRI. The PVS diagnosis is in dispute. So I don't think that the situation is just like the sad one about that boy. I hope you see a difference between "life support" and feeding orally.

Posted by: carson at March 21, 2005 5:08 PM


There is some reason to argue that judges should not be elected, and definately not be under the threat of not being re-elected. Judges are supposed to make decision according to the law and not public opinion or pressure. Individual rights can only be protected if there is someone that without the threat of public wrath can make a sound decision.

Legislature has a different function. They should make the laws according to the public will therefore needing to be re-elected (as well as executive).

Certainly one can now say, there is no real independence, because judges are appointed. However, unfortunately no-one has found a perfect system yet.

In any case, again, judges are protected to do their job independently by the fact that they are immune to contempt by legislature and executive, but there are still ways they can be held accountable for misuse of power or neclect of responsibilities. But due process must be followed for this. You wouldn't like to have a judge being removed at a moment's notice for protecting an individuals right against the majority, because the majority can do so by majority rule. That would be called dictatorship by majority, not democracy with protection of individual rights.

I do not intend to infringe Terri's rights in any way by saying this. I believe it would be right to keep her alive. I just think that we should be careful not to throw out the checks and balances that protect a democracy, otherwise we will open pandora's box and will loose at the end.

Judge Greer should have a due process about whatever os alledge against him, but another branch of government should not be able to threaten his lifelihood the same way like murderers still need to have a fair trial and proper defense otherwise innocent people can be railroaded.

Posted by: lawfan at March 21, 2005 5:10 PM

Can this Doctor who is speaking on Hannity this afternoon be a witness? He has spent over 10 hours with Teri and says she has been denied treatment several times over. That her husband would move her when they would suggest treatment that she could use. This is an OUTRAGE!!

Posted by: Martha Ference at March 21, 2005 5:25 PM

I just heard on FOX cable TV that it's not looking too good for Terri & the Schindlers...since the Judge has not immediately requested that Terri's feeding tube be reinserted. Rather, he has taken the arguements of both sides back to his chambers where he will make his decision. I don't expect much either since this is a Judge that was appointed by the liberal Clinton administration. I am so frustrated & angry on behalf of Terri & her family who love her so. They love her unconditionally just as God loves me. I can't help but wonder...if we could go into a warzone & rescue an injured & abused woman...why can't someone go in & rescue Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Surely there are folks who could do that & wisk the entire family off to somewhere outside of the United States. If this Federal Judge rules against the right to life...& rules in favor of an unfaithful abusive husband & a "euthanasia pro-ponent" lawyer who is waiting to write the last chapter of his book on Terri Schiavo...then I am going to be ashamed to call myself an American. To think that we would rightfully go to jail for starving & dehydrating an animal & that the worst of criminals get more legal representation than this helpless woman!!! I am so sad to be living in the 21st century when it is perfectly legal to kill the most helpless & innocent amoung us.

Posted by: Pat Hogge at March 21, 2005 5:40 PM

Having just returned from the Netherlands, where I watched my mother die, "aided" by a "comforting" morphine drip, at the age of 74, and this just 15 months after my father was assisted out of his "misery" in the same manner, I am watching this issue very closely. I think that the issue of the right to live is getting almost lost in this very poignant story unfolding itself before us. And for the family there can be nothing more important than how things affect the outcome for Terri. But bigger is, that we, like the Dutch, seem to be on our way to replace the right to live with the right to die. And while it may be good to be able to decide whether or not you wish to live under certain extreme circumstances, which we can already do with a living will, it is quite a different thing to be told by hospital staff that due to someone's age or other situation which may affect the quality of life, certain common treatments and protocols will not be available to your loved one. Period, end of discussion. There is no recourse for this, and if you are not able to get your loved one out of the country, they will set course down the road to death, all the while smiling, and giving you half truths about the situation and the prognosis. As I was raised in the Netherlands, and my siblings still live there, I often considered moving back there when I got older, so that I would not be housebound when I lost the ability to drive safely. But the current situation there, and the national, socialized medicine leaving no choice preclude me from going there at this time. There is some movement underway to privatize the system again, but I am not sure if they will ever succeed in changing the right to die back into the right to live. We must try to avoid this for our country at all costs.

Posted by: Nicolette at March 21, 2005 6:37 PM


You misunderstood my question...What if BTK greer was illegally sitting on his bench?

He never properly filed the papers for his reelection, thus he was ineligible to run for the judgeship. He was elected to an office which he didn't properly apply for. This is the way the law is written in Florida.

Judges must also be objective. How can BTK greer be objective when michael paid him--or at least contributed to his election campaign? Greer has acted without regard for the law or Terri's rights for years. If he is so convinced that he is in the RIGHT, then why is the chicken shit in hiding? Why does he have armed guards to protect him? This is the way BTK is; a coward; a lier; a dishonest/corrupt judge.

No, he shouldn't be threatened with "non-re-election", he should be forced to go to the hospice and watch Terri starve to death. To listen to her groans, and watch her dehydrate and die. He should be forced to sit in the room with her and without food and water and he should be forced to feel the pain.....

Justice? Not in Florida.

Posted by: Tress at March 21, 2005 11:29 PM