« Advance directives: Useless in most states | Main | Italian Court Keeps Girl's Feeding Tube in Place »


April 19, 2005

ACTION ALERT!!!! The Most Important Vote: Fr. Frank Pavone

Topics:

The Most Important Vote

(In Spanish)

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life


Sometime in the next few weeks, the United States Senate will hold the most important vote of this generation. It is that important for the same reason that last year's election was the most important one of our generation. As an election season billboard said, "Think of the Supreme Court!"

The vote I'm talking about will affect how easily the Senate can put the right men and women onto the Federal Courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court. It is a vote regarding Senate rules, and, simply put, will determine whether nominees who already have the support of a majority of the Senators can be voted on.

You may ask why this is even an issue, especially if the judicial nominees in question already have the support of the majority of the Senate.

Good question.

The United States Constitution says that the President nominates people to serve on our Federal Courts, and that the US Senate is to give "advice and consent." In other words, the President presents these nominees to the Senate, and then the Senators vote "yes" or "no" as to whether that nominee will serve as a Federal Judge. The same process is used when there is a vacancy on the US Supreme Court, and such a vacancy may occur within the next couple of months.

The President has been nominating people for the Federal courts, and there have been votes and confirmations. But there is an entire group of well-qualified nominees who, in the judgment of Senate Democrats, are too "far right" for their liking. Of course, these Democrats have the right to think what they want about the nominees, and they have the right to vote against them. They also have the right to try to persuade other Senators to vote against them.

But they are not content with that. They now want to claim the right to prevent a vote one way or the other. And they do that by prolonging debate on the nominee indefinitely, so that the debate never closes and the vote is never taken. This process is called a "filibuster."

Now filibusters do have their place. There may be legislation, for example, that the minority party objects to. A filibuster can be used to indefinitely prolong debate on the legislation. This gives the minority some leverage, so that they do not lose their power altogether.

But while filibusters have an appropriate place in legislative debates, we are witnessing, for the first time in history, the use of the filibuster technique to block the "advice and consent" process of the Senate for judicial nominees, when the nominees already have the support of the majority of Senators. To the extent that the Senator is deprived of a vote, the people who elected that Senator are deprived of their voice at the highest levels of government. If this can be done now with Federal judges, it will certainly be done with a Supreme Court Justice.

Federal judges have removed "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, allowed child pornography as protected free speech, redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, struck down bans on partial-birth abortion, and contradicted the will of the people in many other ways. Many Senators want this to stop, and they can stop it by confirming judges who know the difference between applying the law and imposing their political preferences on the people.

The vote that is coming up in the next few weeks is designed to end the abuse of the filibuster and provide a fair up-or-down vote on judges. This is a unique opportunity to tell your Senators you care about the unpredecented and unfair filibustering of President Bush's nominees. Senators need to know that you care about this issue and are watching how they vote.


ACTION: You can reach your senators through the Capitol Switchboard today, or any day, at (202) 224-3121. Just dial this number and ask to be transferred to your Senator's office. You'll have to call twice in order to place a call to each of your two Senators. (You can get direct contact information for both of your home state Senators at the website, judicialnetwork.org, as well.) If you call the main switchboard, simply ask for the Senator you are calling, and when that Senator's office answers, explain that you support a return to the constitutional tradition of a fair up-or-down vote on judicial nominees and an end to the filibuster of judges. We recommend that you also call the local state office of your Senator with the same message. It is even more powerful if you pay a visit to the local state office to register your concern.


SUGGESTED MESSAGE: "Hello, I'm a voter from (NAME OF YOUR STATE) and I support the constitutional option to end the filibuster of judges. Please tell Senator (NAME OF YOUR SENATOR) that every one of President Bush's judicial nominees should be brought to the Senate floor for a fair up-or-down vote. Thank You."

Posted by sherri at April 19, 2005 3:02 PM


Articles Related to :

Comments

I thought this was supposed to be a nonpartisan site.

I don't like seeing nonsense like this, because the filibuster is absolutely VITAL in protecting the checks-and-balances we need in our government.

Besides, Bush has gotten the overwhelming majority of his nominees installed in courts, unlike Clinton, whose nominees were stonewalled by radical right Republicans.

Those few who have been rejected have been so because they are either way out to lunch in mainstream legal thinking or they are unqualified, or both.

Remember, Republicans could actually be in the minority someday, and knowing a lot of them, they would change the rules right back to having the filibuster.

That's why this nonsense is going in the trash can where it belongs, as several Republican Senators are against jettisoning the filibuster.

Don't hand me nonsense, either, the abolition of the filibuster would not ever apply to legislation. The gates would be open, and eventually it would.

Again, this blog entry doesn't belong here. Sorry.

Posted by: Susan Nunes at April 19, 2005 5:26 PM

Ugh!

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 5:42 PM

I agree.

As a conservative blogger I see no reason for this type of entry here on Blogs For Terri.

Respecting the sanctity of life, and standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves is NOT a partisan issue, and this is no place for partisan posts like this.

There are many soapboxes out there for partisan positions and I personally do not want to see Blogs For Terri reduced to that level.

Posted by: Slobokan at April 19, 2005 5:53 PM

Partisan politics my royal Irish a__.

Answer this simple question. Who ordered the murder of Terri? A hint - it wasn't Michael.

Another question: Who ignored an Act of Congress? A hint - it wasn't Jeb.

Final question: To whom can an appeal be made in both instances? Hint: not the Executive and not the Legislative branches of our government.

Judicial appointments are, by far, the single most important element in halting the "legal" march to embrace death.

This post is MOST relevent. To coin a phrase, Ugh! indeed!

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 19, 2005 6:23 PM

Tom,

Would you look in the comments under CA assisted suicide, find the site address I put in one of my comments and read what you can of this? This really needs to be read and assessed, esp. apropos of what we do about the judges issue. Thanks.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 7:02 PM

Mary,

OK. I am printing it out now. It is long so it will take some time to digest. I am sure there are some nuggets in there that I'll talk about on my site too. I'll let you know.

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 19, 2005 7:13 PM

Thank you, Tom. I've been waiting almost 24 hours for some response to this. I'm worn out from waiting.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 7:44 PM

Wow!

In 1852, Lysander Spooner an outspoken lawyer, abolitionist, entrepreneur, legal theorist and political radical wrote in "Trial By Jury":

"Any government, that is its own judge of, and determines authoritatively for the people, what are its own powers over the people, is an absolute government of course. It has all the powers that it chooses to exercise. There is no other --- or at least no more accurate --- definition of a despotism than this."

Hmmm. It looks like old Lysander could give the always revolutionary T. Jefferson a run for his money. I like him.

If anyone feels like being roused check Lysander Spooner out at: http://www.lysanderspooner.org/

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 19, 2005 8:35 PM

Keep reading, Tom--the plot thickens.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 8:49 PM

I agree with those who are concerned what this site is turning into. It seems what we are got together for is totally lost. I am not the only one who seems turned off either. What I see as very disturbing over and over is the stance of disturbance of personal rights.

I feel very fusrated because the cause to get justice for Terri and exposing the corruption/judicial tyranny is completely lost.

I think the blog owner need to remember that Terri's case is not political in nature. Her supporters are of all politicial, religious and racial backgrounds. If there is no sensitivity to this, it will weaken the cause.

Flame away if you must.

Posted by: Julie at April 19, 2005 10:12 PM

Julie,

I think you will be gratified by an article Sherri is posting here, vis a vis the judiciary. If you would like an advance peak check out the address I posted under CA assisted suicide.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 10:17 PM

Tom posted it above.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 19, 2005 10:18 PM

Mary, Julie and all who are concerned that this is a political issue. It is not. It is an issue which is as old as our nation. It is an issue which caused our forebearers fo separate themselves from England. Tyranny is being exercised from the bench, and though the resolution may be, at the surface, being contested in a political arena - the senate - it is we who must fight. We who value life, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Monarchist or Martian, must change the system which allows the Greers of the world to murder legally.

Don't get turned off. Don't allow yourselves to be turned off. That is what the enemy is counting on. The stakes are too high.

Mary et. al., et.al. I've posted a first installment of shining a contemporary pro-life light on Abolitionist Spooner's "Trial By Jury" essay. Go read and tell me how and why I'm right or wrong at: http://timehathfoundus.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 19, 2005 11:15 PM

Tom,

I posted on your site and look forward to visiting with you here tomorrow. I will be back to visit your site, as well. You have some good material there and you did a good job with Spooner's essay. You know, I begin to breathe fresh air for the first time in decades. Many thank you's to Terri, the Schindlers and Blogs.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 12:03 AM

Here.. Go to this site and read this biased crap.. Gimme a break people. The filabusters have been around since the beginning, they are a check to make sure just a simple majority does not make decisions.. This ensures that our nation goes after problems UNITED instead of SPLIT.. And 2/3 is more united than it is split (50/50)..

Either way, I don't come to this site for stupid politics.. Of course if you support this legislation you'll use this cause to your advantage and try to rally people but you're just dividing people..

In addition,
"Don't get turned off. Don't allow yourselves to be turned off. That is what the enemy is counting on. The stakes are too high."
-Quit with the urgency babble.. Us vs Them Polarization is seen as fake to most educated people..

Posted by: CriticalThinker at April 20, 2005 1:06 AM

I reluctantly have to agree that this topic disappoints me. I had hoped the promise of Terri's fight would transcend blatant partisanship. I'll watch the next few topics before I give up hope for BFT, and something tells me I'll be rewarded. There are going to be bumps in the road everyone.

Posted by: Little Laura at April 20, 2005 1:18 AM

Little Laura,

Tom is talking about judicial corruption without any reference to party whatsoever. He spoke the truth, this has nothing to do with political parties.

Honestly CriticalThinker, your comment is one of the worst I've ever seen. If THAT is what "most" educated people see, then they don't see anything at all. You proved that yourself when you opposed educated people (us) to the uneducated (them). May God spare all mankind from such an education.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 7:31 AM

The Citizens Rulebook is posted on Straight up with Sherri. It is shorter and easier reading than Spooner's essay, but if you read it thoughtfully you will see how "we the people" lost our country and have been living in a fool's paradise ever since. I expect that the ones who prefer a fool's paradise to no paradise at all will avoid this article like the plague. But for those of you who "love the truth", Sherri has made it easy for you to discover it.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 8:13 AM

Perhaps we should asks ourselves in which "kingdom" we consider ourselves to be resident, the kingdom of this world, or that of the next. In this world, I see fifty million innocents already dead - and a democratic party with a platform openly supporting the murder of these innocents. Think again, people. This is as partisan as it gets. I will not only support Fr. Pavone's measure, but I will do whatever I can to see that the democratic party in this country is outlawed as the most perverse, filthy evil which has afflicted this world since communism. I would rather live under and a Republican Caesar than tolerate the existence of a political party with a platform which supports that which must be called murder.

Posted by: dea at April 20, 2005 8:17 AM

Dea,

There is a really good reason why we are saying this isn't partisan. Some people claim that abortion is a political issue. Now you and I know it is not; it's a life issue. But they can excuse themselves on the grounds that it is political.

Give us a chance, dea. If you read this you will know why we say this. The post on Straight up with Sherri is easy to read and if you have any questions I would be soooo happy to answer them.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 8:43 AM

Little Laura and Sloboken, who are you? I have never seen you post here before. Why did you suddenly post now?

Julie, I respect you. Have you sent the petition yet concerning Greer? I signed it and had friends sign it, too. I remember that around today was when you were going to send it. Susan N. I've respected your comments here too, always.

I want to say something about this, just my 2-cents. My parents are democrats. So are my best friends (a couple). My father in law is a republican (my mother in law has passed away). My husband and I are registered as independents. But all of the people I just mentioned stand for life. Interesting, I think.

Do you guys remember what Greer and the federal judge did to Terri and how upset we were when judgements continued to fall against her getting to live? There is something wrong! Judges are going too far it appears. This is a tyranny of judgement in this instance and in other instances, too. This is, I think what is being gotten at. And it should be one of our action items - looking into the diseases that have affected why our country is allowing feeding tubes to be removed and people to be killed when they are not even terminal, or if they are considered somehow *inconvenient*.

Here is an excerpt from George Felos' "Litigation as Spiritual Practice":

"Family and friends, however, have had a lifelong relationship with a vital individual, and now see an incapacitated patient who bears little resemblance to his or her former self. Fine gradations in patient behavior may be irrelevant to the family when their benchmark for comparison is pre-impairment. No wonder viewers from such opposing perspectives may see something differently, or may form contrary beliefs as to what constitutes the best interests of the patient. While this dynamic may partially explain conflicting opinions about patient competence, it doesn't resolve gross discrepancies in observation, nor does it ever excuse the infliction of emotional cruelty."

Do you see what he is saying? That someone who has become ill or is incapacitated or disabled is inconvenient - even more than inconvenient. That keeping someone like this alive is "emotional cruelty" to their loved ones, who have to see an "incapacitated patient who bears little resemblance to his or her former self". (Ch. 7)


Don't you see how dangerous this is? For anyone! Because anyone could eventually be considered inconvenient for whatever reason.....

AND THERE ARE JUDGES WHO ARE ACCEPTING AND UPHOLDING THIS VERY VIEW!

That is the problem. There are judges who are not being balanced by the majority of the people's view (that the disabled and incapacitated are *not* "inconvenient", but are vital contributing members of society! And that any of us may be incapacitated at some point in our lives, but will still be valuable as human beings at that point).

If judges have changed in their role from the first ideas of our nation's balance of power, then that *is* a problem, regardless of politics. I grew up in another country, and was amazed at how much and often things were considered political here - it was an adjustment. Just any thought, was suddenly categorized as either one party or another. But then I realized that having these strong parties balancing power was probably what the founders wanted in terms of balancing freedoms.

But this freedom is one that should still be kept in the people's hands in my opinion! Juries should always be the case! And I haven't read the article posted by Mary et. al. yet, but am going to get it read today. I *think* that is what it is saying - that juries should be involved, so that a representation of the people is present, not only a judge!

Posted by: juleni at April 20, 2005 8:51 AM

Good morning, Juleni,

You are right in what you say. And it is what Tom and I are trying to say; this is about the judiciary not the party. No matter who votes them in, they turn out as they turn out. Once in office we have no vote left. It was judges who did this to us in the first place and running to them (the troublemakers) to fix the trouble is worse than a waste of time. IT WILL NOT BE JUDGES WHO FIX THIS PROBLEM NO MATTER WHICH PARTY PUTS THEM IN. It will be us "the people" who do it. If anyone looks into this they are bound to agree, it just wants a fair hearing. PLEASE!!

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 9:05 AM

If you're still here, Juleni, go to Sherri's post first as it is easier to read. Then dig into Spooner because he cuts right into the meat of the problem.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 9:09 AM

Juleni,

You are correct in your assessmant of judges. I think, however, that Little Laura, Sloboken and anyone else who is uncomfortable that this may be becoming a political issue should freely express their reservations. It is likely that *most* people have the opinion that it is a Republican vs. Democrat thing. The truth is that in spite of the politization of almost all aspects of our public life, the issue of the sanctity of life is transcends political expediency.

We need to encourage those who are doubtful to express their doubts and then use clear, calm and reasoned arguments to show the importance of the issues before us. If this turns into an "Amen Chorus" then we are marginalized and irrelevent.

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 20, 2005 10:26 AM

Are you still about, Tom? The problem here, as I see it, is that we are not dealing with doubts, but with a missing of the point altogether because no one has looked into the problem with the judiciary. We seem to be stuck on political parties which have nothing to do with this for obvious reasons. At least they are obvious to those of us who have read Sherri's post and Spooner's essay. We waste time on a side issue here and go no where. If anyone can say, I read this information and I have doubts, then we can discuss it. Why play at all in the wrong sandbox?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 11:22 AM

Lemme just try one or two points in support of the original post. There are some points which simply and simplistically aren't arguable to some people, including, I am proud to say, me. Any organization or political party which openly states that either abortion or euthanasia should be legal is, in my opinion, simply and plainly evil, and I think you'll find that the opinion of a great many whose raison d'être, so to speak, is right to life issues. The political arena is just one of many in which right to life issues are debated. Them against us? Well I see one party trying to outlaw that which I define as murder, another party as strenuously fighting against such measures. Fr. Pavone suggests a measure to provide the former the advantage. I, for one, would at least like to hear about (and my rhetoric is against the party and one particular clause of its platform, not the people. My mother was a life long democrat, and we got along just great as long as we didn't talk politics).

Posted by: dea at April 20, 2005 11:52 AM

I am sorry, Slobokon and Little Laura. I don't mean for you guys not to comment. I just didn't know why you hadn't been commenting before, but I can see that this may be the first issue that may have interested you enough to discuss.

You are so right, Tom. Thank you for saying what you did.

Posted by: juleni at April 20, 2005 12:02 PM

Yes, I think you may be right, dea. It is the individual person who makes a choice on what to believe. My mother who is a democrat is definitely against both euthanasia and abortion, and believes in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural passing away.

Perhaps that is why this is not just a political issue, because there are people throughout the parties who believe in the sanctity of life.

Yes it is true more of one party lean towards life than another, but perhaps we need to take this out of the political arena for the sake of all who believe in life, throughout all the parties of politics, and just support doing whatever will help to aid life, no matter what or which people of which parties are involved in it.

I do understand that your rhetoric is against a particular clause of one party's platform, I do. And I could never stand for that platform, either, no matter if any party adopted it.

And I thank God for Father Pavone and his stand in this particular issue, because he is trying to get at the heart of the problem that killed Terri, I am sure of that.

I think Mary and Tom and Sherri are saying that this is something they have found out about the judiciary that is beyond parties and politics of this country, and is a root problem regarding the respect of people's lives. I'll comment more, on that..

Thank you dea for your stand for life and the lovely posts you have made regarding Terri and the Lord. I have read them all so far, with gratitude.

Posted by: juleni at April 20, 2005 12:26 PM

There goes your good sense again, Juleni. Dea I apologize for my get up and go-ness. If I had to vote I would vote Republican. The Democrats for the most part stand for the things I stand against. At least up front, in your face, positions on the side of the devil. Get right down to it and it would be closer to say the liberals do this and the conservatives do that.

Have you read the material we speak of dea? I will quote you one little line from Spooner and from it I am sure you will see that we speak not of any party affiliation here, but of something rotten in the whole system. "In such a trial, therefore, "the country" (we the people), judge of and determine their own liberties against the govt instead of the govt judging of and determining its own powers over the people." Do you see?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 12:52 PM

Just be pro-life and ignore the whiney Satanists.

Posted by: gopchristian at April 20, 2005 1:08 PM

Actually, Mary, on a great many issues - social justice, war and peace, I'm anywhere from center to as far left as they come (I attended a Catholic school and would be in big trouble if some of my old college term papers ever came to the attention of Benedict XVI). But issues of life are simply definitve to me (I've abstained politically for thirty years, now wonder if I'm morally bound to register and vote Republican (please, someone, talk me out of this)). Anyway, I'm still working on Spooner and my progress as slow as ever (and I must retire for the day. My sincere gratitude and my heartfelt prayer for everyone here working as our Lord Jesus calls us to do. Our Lord guide this beautiful site).

Posted by: dea at April 20, 2005 2:09 PM

I'm sorry you are retiring for the day, dea. I am very eager to hear your comments on Spooner or Sherri's post.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 3:20 PM

The problem here is that Pavone only looks at the issue of the judicial filibuster from a limited, goal oriented viewpoint and not an objective one.

Getting rid of it may at present - since the Republicans have a senate majority - allow them to appoint whichever judge they like, but on the flipside you'll have removed any option to oppose Democratic nominations once the balance of power shifts over again.

It doesn't mean that getting rid of it isn't a potentially good thing, but I doubt only looking at the present situation, without taking the future (and the past) into account is a very good approach.

As it stands, the vote itself can be filibustered, in which case Frist will just ask Cheney to rule on if the judicial filibuster isn't unconstitutional in which case it's null and void when supported by a regular majority (which itself will not be subject to filibustering).

Somewhat unrelated, from memory the two in the federal appeals court who voted for a review were a Democrat and a Republican, the majority opposed were Republican as are Greer and I think Whittermore. Given that, I don't really see how effective of a debate this really is in the end.

Although that part might be tainted by the fact that I fully believe the legislative power was and is to blame, if not by making sure it couldn't happen in the first place, then by trying to shift the blame from themselves onto the judiciary and then looking like little angels while still failing to pass or prepare sufficientlegislation to stop it from happening again in the future and getting away with it.


As a side pet peeve I feel "supporting life" has become so politically polarized and dubious, that it has lost most, if not all of its meaning. I can see how it's useful and clever as a marketing slogan and to instantly stigmatize those on the opposite side of the political spectrum but that's not really what it's supposed to be about.

By generalizing and mixing separate issues together you turn a lot of people away (related to this site or in the bigger picture) who might otherwise be inclined to help. Maybe they won't go all the way, maybe they oppose euthanasia but support abortion or the other way around, but that doesn't mean they're "death" personified or that they can be of no help.

Relating to the article, Pavone tries to stigmatize Democrats while portraying the Republicans as the noble ones, but there are better arguements to use if you support doing away with the judicial filibuster. They're not as sensational, but when laid out without intent to provoke either side, might actually make someone rethink their stand.
Then again, I'm going under the assumption that BFT isn't choosing to align itself with one specific party, which if so would make the article entirely appropriate and my comment pointless.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 20, 2005 3:46 PM

Vanessa,

Have you read the article at Sherri's blog (Straight up with Sherri - you can get there by choosing it from the left side of this page under 'Our Team') regarding judges and juries, or the article Mary et. al. has posted a link to regarding juries - they are about the way that power has shifted in our country from what juries were originally to be, and to the judge having more power. I.E. the juries were to have the control in deciding not only the guiltiness or non-guilt of a defendant but the law in the trial as well! They were to have power over the judge, and follow their conscience, not the judge have power over them and tell them what to decide on and how to conduct themselves. This was how our country was originally set up. I did not realize that, before now. I say all this because I think what we need to look at isn't at all what political parties are involved in this, but at what is happening and has happened to the court systems of our country.

I do believe in life, myself. Life of human beings from conception to natural death. That it is an inalienable right. A God given right. To take the life of a human should be God's to do, not man's. For myself, if I would say I believe this only for Terri's exact situation, for instance, or only for someone in another exact particular situation but not others, then my lines will soon blur. It's almost weird to have to say "I believe in life"....shouldn't that be simply granted that human life should be allowed to be? But unfortunately we are in a position today to have to say "I believe in life". And with that I guess I have to add "I do not believe in killing". I don't see how I could separate myself from believing in one person's life more than another's.

Posted by: juleni at April 20, 2005 5:20 PM

Juleni,

And to think I spent all that time writing to you only to come here and find I was preaching to the choir.

There is only one other thing I would add. Juries set the limits of govt's power over the people. Without juries gov't sets its own limits of power over the people and they know no limits. It does not matter one bit who is in office or on the bench, corrupt govt acts corruptly until it is stopped and the ONLY thing that can stop it is the jury--we the people.

I'm going to Tom and Sherri's sites.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 5:30 PM

My final little post is just this tonight - quotes regarding this very thing (juries/judges/courts) :


"The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
John Jay, 1st Chief Justice
U.S. Supreme Court, 1789


"The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts."
Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
1796, Signer of The Unanimous Decleration


"The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1902


"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice
U.S. Supreme Court, 1941


"The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise of its perogative to disregard instructions of the judge..."
U.S. vs. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139
1972

Posted by: juleni at April 20, 2005 5:40 PM

Keep it coming, Juleni. Liked your comment on Sherri's post--most excellent question.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 5:47 PM

IMHO, the traditional alliances in both the Republican and Democrat parties are starting to shift as a result of Terri's fight.

I hope that no one who believes that Terri's death was a great wrong, as most of the posters here believe regardless of their political affiliation, will be put off by the flagging of this or that issue as "Republican" or "Democrat". Both parties are changing. Just seeing Jesse Jackson and Jeb Bush together, trying to pass legislation to save Terri's life, is a powerful example of the shifts that are taking place. Neither party is the same as it was twenty years ago, and neither party will ever be the same again.

The question to ask is, "Who is supporting the right to life? Who will stand against the legal killing of the handicapped?" In general, I still think that the Republican Party is more likely to stand up for life, but there are individual Democrats who will do so, and individual Republicans who won't. That should be clearly understood when we talk politics, as we sometimes must.

Mary in LA
"the other Mary" :-)

Posted by: Mary in LA at April 20, 2005 8:13 PM

I have written from the beginning - have gotten screamed at before and will get screamed at again - that change must work within the system. It was stated above that, we abolish filibusters and suddenly it would work for Republican ends rather than Democratic. Uh-oh - let's change the rules again. The system has worked for 200+ years people. Sure it can be changed. But be blessed that you live in a system that can be changed. Live in a monarchy or dictatorship where they decide to put all handicapped people in homes or kill all female babies. Try changing things then! Be glad that you can speak out on this forum, criticize and not get arrested or worse.

And whoever called Democrats satanic or filty evil and wanted it outlawed, TRY LIVING IN A ONE PARTY SYSTEM with no disagreement or debate.

All of you that have turned this into a political issue have gone completely into left field. What about the Party of Evil Democrats who support life? What about me, a registered Republican, who believed that Congress had no business interfering in this private family dispute? Should I change political parties - join the Party of Evil?

Face it - you love the system when it works for you. If ONE judge had overturned a ruling and inserted the feeding tube, THE SYSTEM WOULD HAVE WORKED and we would have not this debate. Tell me I am wrong!

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 20, 2005 8:17 PM

Hi, other Mary,

It's good to see you posting again. So many people have gone away it's a bit lonely here. I find it hard to believe that this is still about party affiliation/feuds. Did you pick up on the other issue we've been posting here? I speak of the role of jurors in this.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 8:27 PM

Bloggin Beth,

Okay- only because you asked...you are wrong. I am not saying this to pick on you. You bring up a very widely spread rumor. That people simply believe that if they get the result they want- then the system works. In a lot of cases, this is true. TOO many have gotten lazy. But for this particular group of peolple- your statement just doens't apply.

If the feeding tube had been reinserted- I wouldn't be claiming the system worked. People have been screaming about how the system doesn't work for YEARS!

The system failed horribly in Terri's case. It started when the police did not investigate Terri's "incident." Maybe it did happen the way Michael says- problem is- the system failed to even bother investigating it. Since when does a 26 year old woman "collapses" and no investigation is done. It was originally suggested to be investigated as a homicide. I have no idea why it was never investigated for anything else, just because she didn't actually die.

The system also failed when Michael was allowed to continue to be her guardian abck in 1993. The laws for guardianship are not mere hints- they are LAWS- and he did NOT adhere to them. The list goes on and on. The fact that it ever went to court to actually PULL her feeding tube is clearly a show of a system that does not work.

Part of what people are discussing here is just this. Juries did not hear this stuff. How is that a JURY can decide to give money for Terri's care, but yet no jury is needed to decide that since he didn't use the money for the jury's intent, he is NOT an honest broker for Terri.

There is NO excuse for not having juries for cases. There is no excuse for the continued abuse of our courts system. Just to note on another site I found about the jury issue:

In the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they provided the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers as a method to protect citizens from the power of an over-zealous government. A jury can refuse to convict a defendant who has clearly violated the letter of the law if they feel the law is unjust or unconstitutional, essentially vetoing the effect of the law.

In early America, jurors were told of this right and writings of our founding fathers show this was their intent. John Adams stated in 1771 “It is not only…[the juror’s] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

In 1789, future President Thomas Jefferson stated, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
Things changed as time went by. A Supreme Court ruling in 1895 found that judges were not at fault if they failed to remind jurors of this right. After that, judges not only stopped telling jurors they can judge the law, they now falsely tell jurors their only job is to decide if the evidence is sufficient to find the accused guilty. They are told they must do this even if they disagree with the law. Defense attorneys can be charged with contempt of court if they inform jurors that they may acquit if they feel the law is unconstitutional, unjust, or applied unfairly.

Posted by: Straight Up with Sherri at April 20, 2005 9:23 PM

Bloggin Beth,

Okay- only because you asked...you are wrong. I am not saying this to pick on you. You bring up a very widely spread rumor. That people simply believe that if they get the result they want- then the system works. In a lot of cases, this is true. TOO many have gotten lazy. But for this particular group of peolple- your statement just doens't apply.

If the feeding tube had been reinserted- I wouldn't be claiming the system worked. People have been screaming about how the system doesn't work for YEARS!

The system failed horribly in Terri's case. It started when the police did not investigate Terri's "incident." Maybe it did happen the way Michael says- problem is- the system failed to even bother investigating it. Since when does a 26 year old woman "collapses" and no investigation is done. It was originally suggested to be investigated as a homicide. I have no idea why it was never investigated for anything else, just because she didn't actually die.

The system also failed when Michael was allowed to continue to be her guardian abck in 1993. The laws for guardianship are not mere hints- they are LAWS- and he did NOT adhere to them. The list goes on and on. The fact that it ever went to court to actually PULL her feeding tube is clearly a show of a system that does not work.

Part of what people are discussing here is just this. Juries did not hear this stuff. How is that a JURY can decide to give money for Terri's care, but yet no jury is needed to decide that since he didn't use the money for the jury's intent, he is NOT an honest broker for Terri.

There is NO excuse for not having juries for cases. There is no excuse for the continued abuse of our courts system. Just to note on another site I found about the jury issue:

In the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they provided the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers as a method to protect citizens from the power of an over-zealous government. A jury can refuse to convict a defendant who has clearly violated the letter of the law if they feel the law is unjust or unconstitutional, essentially vetoing the effect of the law.

In early America, jurors were told of this right and writings of our founding fathers show this was their intent. John Adams stated in 1771 “It is not only…[the juror’s] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

In 1789, future President Thomas Jefferson stated, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
Things changed as time went by. A Supreme Court ruling in 1895 found that judges were not at fault if they failed to remind jurors of this right. After that, judges not only stopped telling jurors they can judge the law, they now falsely tell jurors their only job is to decide if the evidence is sufficient to find the accused guilty. They are told they must do this even if they disagree with the law. Defense attorneys can be charged with contempt of court if they inform jurors that they may acquit if they feel the law is unconstitutional, unjust, or applied unfairly.

Posted by: Straight Up with Sherri at April 20, 2005 9:23 PM

AMEN,Sherri,

That bit about when they dispensed with licit jury instruction was new to me and part of the puzzle we needed. Do you know how it evolved into actual illicit instruction--any particulars, that is?

The really big question is how in the world did they cut juries out of these issues. I know they took abortion to that bunch of horses hind ends in the supreme court. What type cases were juries originally involved in? How has that evolved through the years? How in the world did life or death issues wind up in probate court? That is as asinine as anything can get. Unbelievable that this was never questioned before. Or was it?

I'm going to go visit Tom, now, and then pop by your site.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 9:38 PM

Mary

Sorry for the doublepost there..

I am researching how this happened, that is how I found this other site. I also have a friend that is a trial attorney- I put in a "help me" email on this issue! LOL!!

I asked him to explain it (without legal speak-so us little folk can understand) for us. As soon as I get an answer- I will surely share. Meanwhile I will continue to research it..

Sad ot say- while I am certainly for responding to Pavones call to action- this is just a bandaid- it is FAR from a cure. The right judges are NOT the answer- the answer is getting all branches- especially the judicial branch- back into the hands of WE THE PEOPLE!

LOVE TOM'S SITE BY THE WAY!

TOM-- YOU ROCK!

Posted by: Straight Up with Sherri at April 20, 2005 9:46 PM

Good I'm glad you are researching this and I will do all I can, too. That Jury Institute find was a really good one. As soon as I have the time I am going to make like a four year old and start asking questions. Ha! They're going to love me--Not!

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 20, 2005 9:57 PM

Thanks Sherri, for the compliment and the comment over on my site.

Lets go get 'em.

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 20, 2005 10:34 PM

I don't have a firm belief in juries. It's a noble idea, but a large part of the population is either swayed by whomever talks the smoothest or by whichever side plays on individual moral beliefs the most and I have strong doubt they're able to fully digest any deeply technical testimoney that's given.

A jury could however rule on little things. In Terri's case that would have been whether or not she said she wouldn't have wanted to live like that and whether or not - if she said it - it should be given the same value as a living will has.
It's something relatively simple, yet a decision one way or the other would change the entire course of the case.

But I do not believe a jury is qualified to listen to medical testimoney and draw up a conclusion as to whether or not what the doctor(s) testified is the truth or not.

As a last thought, if Terri's case had been judged by a jury, would you have opposed a jury member who is outspokingly pro-choice or pro-euthanesia? If you would have, you at the same time acknowledge that a pro-life jury member has no place in it and you're still left with a jury which can go either way.

If you support having an impartial, unbiased jury judge the merit of both sides in guardianship cases then you have to also accept that there's a possiblity they would have seen more merit in Michael's side than the Schindlers' side.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 21, 2005 3:02 AM

Vanessa,

You simply HAVE to read Spooner's essay and then come back and say that again.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 21, 2005 7:18 AM

Pay special attention to the parts about the juries rights and duty to judge the LAW first and the accused only second. This part is VERY crucial.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 21, 2005 7:25 AM

Sherri -

I don't think we are as far apart as people might think. I believe what you said - if the system is valid, we must accept the results - whether to our benefit or not. If the system is flawed, we must change it to be just to both sides. I am "chalking your comments up" to being one of the more level headed people on this blog. Yes - there were issues in the system and there were many things that were not addressed that should have been. I TOTALLY agree. And, if by this situation, people are educated on living wills, guardians, and advanced directives - some good has come. Because I will say it again - I am thoroughly against the courts, the US Congress, my governor, the President, or, with all due respect, complete strangers on a Internet Blog, making my family's business public debate.

Unfortunately, your voice of reason is a minority. This is what I am hearing from alot of people. Abolish the Democratic Party! Give Jeb absolute authority to bring in the National Guard! These extremist tactics do no service to your cause.

I hope you understand my comments and the spirit in which they are made. I am trying to express my opinion that, we should be lucky we live in the country we do. And when I hear comments like many I have heard before - it just burns me up!

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 21, 2005 8:11 AM

Beth, I'll address one specific point - I will work relentlessly to see that any organization in this country which advocates that abortion, that which I believe is the murder of human life, be outlawed. Do I wish to live in a monarchy (or even a theocracy in this world)? Absolutely not. Nor do I consider people or groups of people evil. I do, however, consider any organization which promulgates that which I consider an ultimate crime to be evil. You ask should you change parties. Let me ask you this. Should I, who on a great many other issues, social justice, war and peace, am center to extreme left join any organization which in its platform of intent promulgates that the murder of unborn infants remain legal? And I make only that one specific point. As long is the democratic party in its platform of intent retains a clause promulgating that abortion remain legal, I will relentlessly declare the party evil, will consider membership in it sinful, and will advocate that it, and any other organization advocating that which I consider the murder of human life, be outlawed.

Posted by: dea at April 21, 2005 8:43 AM

Nor, please believe me, is it my intention to be unkind to any person or any group of people. "Mom," I used to say back in the seventies to the one person in the world who I loved with unreserved passion, "it is now my holy, God given mission in regards to the party to which you belong, to proclaim to the the world that your party is an abomination in the eyes of heaven, a modern Babylon from which you must flee, an unholy ..." "Yes, very nice dear, finish your potatoes now." Oh the frustration. Never did get my mom out of the party

Posted by: dea at April 21, 2005 9:14 AM

Vanessa - you said:
"I don't have a firm belief in juries........I have strong doubt they're able to fully digest any deeply technical testimoney that's given. A jury could however rule on little things......"

Why? I think exactly the opposite. I believe that people, the 'common man or woman', are exactly the right ones to both understand and judge on the technical testimony given. If we believe they couldn't, then we also must believe a judge couldn't necessarily understand the technical testimony. Judges are not doctors. They are not scientific technicians. On the contrary, that is why professionals are called to give court testimony; precisely so that the common person may understand better the technical aspects. And so it should be.

I hope you'll take the time to read the article on juries. Have you read it, yet?

I'm sorry, but I must say something here: I always see both you an Blogging Beth come to comment at the same time, and I know that you both commented quite a bit in favor of letting Terri die. And defended Michael. And your statements, both of you, sometimes seem to look down on the very 'common man or woman' of which I just spoke. I can't help but see these things; they are a pattern, and quite honestly, they bother me - only because this blog is supposed to be about first saving Terri, then once she passed about what went wrong and saving others like her and addressing the things that allowed her murder.

So, for what reason are you still sticking around?
Do you care about those we are trying to help...that is my question.

Posted by: juleni at April 21, 2005 12:10 PM

Vanessa - I saw your posts at Sherri's site, and you do seem to believe that people should be allowed to have life....is that right? I may not have understood you, before, with Terri & Michael, and apologize if so. But I still don't get why you would look upon the common person as not intelligent or thoughtful enough to, for instance, be a good juror when technical testimony is presented.

There is more than one kind of intelligence. One author believes they have identified seven different types of intelligence. But who knows all the varieties. (Intelligence is not only IQ or having a great vocabulary or even knowing how to look something up in dictionaries)...often the intelligence that one person has, intuitively, of by being a good judge of people, or from keen common sense, or from having a good teacher or mentor, etc., compensates for what they may not have had the chance to receive from formal education or books.

Posted by: juleni at April 21, 2005 2:02 PM

Juleni and Vanessa,

I think that the trait called intellegence is irrelevent for jurors. What counts and what the common man/woman usually has is wisdom. There are many intellegent people out there without a hint of wisdom.

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 21, 2005 2:07 PM

Dea -

I respect your point of view. However, I think it is dangerous to "label" groups in one way or another. What about Republicans who are Pro-choice or give no opinion on the matter? There are just too many issues - to label one party "good" and another "evil". That is my opinion - but I respect the conviction of your beliefs.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 21, 2005 4:27 PM

mary:

If the Spooner essay was the bit Sherri had up as a post a few days back then I did read that before my posts, if it's something else, then I missed it?

juleni:

I don't think I ever outright defended the person of Michael or argued that Terri should die without condition.

I did comment on things I personally find unacceptable, like demonizing or public witch hunt like tactics. Whatever allegations exist against him deserve to be looked into and if they're valid he should be prosecuted and punished accordingly but it should be done within the system we have, and not based on public speculation or blind, irrational hate.

As for Terri, I doubt I can condense that down enough to a few sentences and have it still make a whole lot of sense. A very short run down on what I personally believe in in general is: it's wrong to take action or let someone die merely because they're an inconvenience (be that to a specific person or to society as a whole), it's also wrong however to forcefully prolong life when there is no counterbalance for the person involved. Now if someone wishes to be kept alive under whichever circumstances, everything should be in place to make sure that happens, if someone wishes to have their life end under whichever circumstances they should also be able to in a humane manner which dehydration is clearly not.
There is no clearcut right or wrong since I see potential for evil in both extremes.

Practically speaking that puts me in neither pro-life since I obviously favour having the option of abortion and euthansia in place nor pro-choice because I don't see enough argueing there for the proper checks and balances to prevent abuse so depending on any specific detail I lean to one side or the other.

In short if you sustain a life, it has to be done for the proper reasons, if you end a life, that also has to be done for the proper reasons. In Terri's case I don't believe either side argued for the right reasons and whatever the truth was, it got lost in conflicting testimoney, details, accounts of events, a mass media circus and people falling head over heels to abuse her fate for their own political or ideological agenda and the one who possibly paid for the price for all of that was Terri.

I'll leave it up to you to decide which pretty labelled box of 'right' or 'wrong' I fit into.


And my problems with juries isn't based on what I think the intelligence of the common man is, it's based on expertise. They'd hear two accounts, one claiming the patient is PVS, the other claiming the patient is in a state of minimal consciousness. What exactly are they going to use as basis to decide which diagnosis is right and which is wrong?
I'd place a whole lot more value on the opinion of an independent panel of neurologists to make that determination than that of a regular jury.
That said, I don't think a judge ruling all by himself and calling all the shots necessarily leads to a better conclusion.

As a side note, I don't know that I'm right and I don't know that you're wrong. Most times when I comment on something it's because I see a lack of a certain nuance or a wrong spin or to offer a different POV and the most I ever expect back is that it gets read.
Considering the thought and effort I've seen people put into it (mary comes to mind for this specific suggestion on juries) I'm definitely not assuming I know better.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 21, 2005 6:13 PM

Vanessa writes -
"In Terri's case I don't believe either side argued for the right reasons and whatever the truth was, it got lost in conflicting testimoney, details, accounts of events, a mass media circus and people falling head over heels to abuse her fate for their own political or ideological agenda and the one who possibly paid for the price for all of that was Terri."

THANK YOU VANESSA! The best point I have heard here in awhile. This event turned into a media circus and political agenda frenzy. Whatever the merits of the case - they were lost in the Randell Terrys and Sean Hannitys and the spectacle of the US Congress and George Felos and Judge Greer. This should have never played out in the press, on the TV or on the Internet.

As I have said repeatedly, the system needs to change for all involved. I am relunctant with a jury decision as well. No matter how independent they claim to be - personal feelings can always interfere. I believe that the judges are the best hope for an "independent option" - not based on the passions of voters. As far as I am concerned, Congress lost all credibility with its 11th hour tactics.

It is funny - as I look back on the first post on this topic - stating that this filibuster bill had not place on a non-partisan blog. That is correct. It is clouding the issue and alienating people who might generally support the effort because they don't belong to the "right" party. I belong to the "right" party and I am seriously considering re-registering to independent based on everything that has happened.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 21, 2005 7:12 PM

Vanessa,

What Sherri has up is good as far as it goes, but it is only an appetizer. Schooner's essay is something a whole lot more. I've lost track of who said what and I'm too weary to go back and sort it out. But there are some things that are by nature erroneous and the really, really big one is that humans have the capacity to decide on the life or death of humans. That's along the line of a culture which expects only those two years and under to make the family's financial decisions. If you can't see that, if you honestly believe that this is within our capacity, then you will need a miracle to 'get it'. If you really want to possess the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you have but to ask for that miracle. If you are right, you will be confirmed in your rightness. If you are wrong, you will become right. It's a win-win situation and free for the asking.

Read Spooner; pay especial attention to the right and duty of the JURY to judge the law first and the accused second. It is the power of the jury to judge the law which is the one and only thing that stands between the people and govt tyranny. The address is in one of my comments above and in one of Tom's. The truth is there for every one that wants it.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 21, 2005 8:32 PM

Sorry, I don't have the address above, but Tom does.

Hey, Tim, what happened to you? Is it a case of only one slave and too many drivers?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 21, 2005 8:37 PM

Blogging Beth and Vanessa,

Let me get this straight. What you're saying here, on this site, is: "Move along. There's nothing to see here. They're not the ones we are looking for." Correct?

Posted by: Tom Spence at April 21, 2005 8:58 PM

Friends - thank you for your comments related to this post. Given the diversity of your backgrounds, I was pleased by your constructive interactions and the insight (and at times tolerance) that has been shown by individuals of opposing positions. I would like to comment, in general, and confirm that BlogsforTerri is non-partisan. We stand for the life of the individual, believing that the value of the person is not tied to their capabilities or health status, and we oppose euthanasia of all forms.

Terri’s case revealed that Judicial Tyranny is rampant in our nation and that Republicans and Democrats BOTH failed to protect the life of the weak and helpless. Many, in both parties, exploited Terri’s case for political gain and continue to do. Few have concrete answers.

When we began BlogsforTerri we had high hopes that Terri’s life would be spared, that someone in a position of power and authority would intervene on her behalf. However, at that time, we also agreed that regardless of the outcome our work through BlogsforTerri would continue. And it will.

Laws do need to change as do representatives and judges. We need principled individuals in power who are not afraid to take a stand for the weak and helpless. Sometimes we'll stray unnecessarily on either side of the political aisle and, when we do, I’m confident that we’ll hear about it. Despite differing political viewpoints, we also trust that our friends will stay with us. Judge us by the thrust of our efforts (in the fight for Terri, Mae, and Clara, etc.) and not by the occasional post which you may find inappropriate.

Let’s continue to move forward, together, and fight for the life of individuals who are now in danger due to a system that tolerates and promotes the starvation of the defenseless in the guise of a false mercy.

Of course, Blogs for Terri wants to continue to be a catalyst for strategizing about how to combat euthanasia most effectively and on many fronts. To this end, we are considering hosting a forum for extended discussions of various relevant topics. If you would be interested in such a forum, e-mail me at blogdsforterri at gmail dot com so we determine if there is sufficient interest.

Posted by: tim at April 22, 2005 2:16 AM

Tim:

Your question is so broad I'm having a hard time figuring out what exactly you want an answer to.

Assuming you're referring to the article, I don't think the filibuster should go just because it serves someone's interest at this moment in time. Some years down the road you're going to find yourself in the opposite situation and you'll have eliminated one of your options for a blockade.
I've heard and read good arguements for keeping it, I've seen good ones for getting rid of it but those were in a context of cost and merit and not a "how can we get those judges where we want them right now and everything else is irrelevant". I don't mind the stand against it, I mind the arguement used for it.

Broader, I don't think the problem is with the judiciary per se and I'm personally sceptical of replacing what's there with something that may not be any better or be worse, but I'm not in a position to make a knowledgable call on that.
From where I stand I see the passing of the blame that the legislative branch did as an attempt to win votes or to at least not loose any. "Don't look at us, it's those evil judges you should be after" is a rather cheap and reprehensible tactic.

I see a lot of head nodding with the elected policitians to "this was wrong" but I don't see anyone personally sticking their neck out with a promise to do everything it takes to make sure it doesn't happen again. That tells me enough.

Instead everyone's bouncing around to try and find an angle how they can use what happened to their advantage. The persuit of ideologies is fine, but sometimes you have to take your head out of the clouds and look at what's real and do something that actually matters.

Abortion outlawed would not have saved Terri's life. Legalized euthanasia would have done nothing to change Terri's situation since for one, she wasn't euthanized and second, she didn't fit the necessary conditions to have it happen if it was legal. Bringing down Michael, Felos and Greer does nothing to help the next Terri that came along and we didn't know about, and does nothing to save the next we will know about. There's plenty more, but you get my point.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 22, 2005 6:35 AM

Tim -

Ditto on everything Vanessa said - with one further emphasis. This is not a partisan issue. And it cannot succeed if it has any appearance of being one. I don't also think that the system failed - in terms of the judiciary. To paraphrase Vanessa, the system would not have been judged this way (pardon the language!) if one stay, one reinsertion order would have come down.

But, maybe you improve the system - based on the available technologies to keep us alive now. Maybe you have an independent review board - comprised of medical professionals - that have a say on this matter - both on the state level and the final say on a local level. Maybe you require everyone - at the time of registering to vote at age 18 - to declare a guardian in these matters - or you risk the possibility of the state appointing one for you. These are just ideas.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 22, 2005 7:44 AM

Vanessa - I was NOT commenting on the article but on the comments that followed. Are you denying that the system (e.g., the government) failed to protect Terri?

Beth - "this is not a partisan issue" was part of my point.

Posted by: tim at April 22, 2005 8:37 AM

Agreed Tim - needs to be emphasized along all these issues and to all parties commenting.

That is what I was saying. Sorry - I should have stated that you were along those lines as well!

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 22, 2005 8:51 AM

As someone suggested--it is hard to remember who without a scorecard--let's leave aside the rhetoric and, paraphrasing Vanessa, get real. And let's try to talk with each other and not at it each other.

CURE has a single focus combating euthanasia without exception or compromise and a central mission defending those targeted for imposed death and assisting their defenders.

As an author of and supporter of Blogs for Terri as vehicle in forging the united front we need to defend the next Terri and the next and the next,
I welcome Tim's message.

Reasonable men and women can differ on the strategic question of judicial filibuster, which would make a good thread for the forum I hope Blogs for Terri will inaugurate so we can have the extended and, hopefully, civil discussion, such nuanced matters merit.

I concur with Tim that government failed Terri and by government I mean the judicial, legislative, and executive branches at the local, state, and federal levels. And if we allow ourselves to be divided by other issues--issues best argued on other blogs than this one--from waging a common battle to defend the next Terri Schindler, Mae Magouirk, or Clara Martinez, we shall have failed that martyr to TAB tyrrany as well.

And that is not rhetoric but reality, the realility in which we must ground our efforts if we are to put our words into deeds, if we are to save our brothers and sisters lives and not merely bemoan their deaths.

I hope you will all stay with us. We need many voices and many hands to wage this battle on every front. This is not a sect, much less a partisan club, but a people's movement that must not be diverted for we fight against great odds. And I will save my fire for those on the other side of the barricades.

Earl
Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia (CURE)

Posted by: Earl Appleby at April 22, 2005 9:08 AM

1st I am a new poster here but have been following this site since before Terri's death. I feel that the question is getting framed wrong. Once Judge Gear made his desission to kill Terri there were only a Limited number of Judges that could do anything to stop her Death and none did. Are these Judges that the Minority is tring to stop Pro-life Judges will they vote for life if there is a question. I have to ask myself if these Judges had been approved before hand would Terri have been saved? We will never known for sure. But when the next Terri case comes up do we want Judges who are pro-life on the bench or one that are pro-death. I can't support a Pro-Death candate over a pro-life one in either party. Then why should I not support getting Pro-Life Judges in no mater witch party recommends them.

Robert

Posted by: Robert M at April 22, 2005 10:20 AM

Robert,

You should post more often. This must be taken out of the hands of the judges in toto. Read Spooner's essay and you will see why. We must get to the root of the problem and not waste time snipping at twigs. God willing we should soon have a task force to get on top of this.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 22, 2005 10:44 AM

mary, I agree the Judges Powers need to be LIMITED. But I have seen anything right now other then getting Judges who belive in controlling the power of Judges right now. One person Idea is require a Jury. Well that might work some but we all known that Jury's are more and more picked. In the case of Terri a Jury would likely have been picked from Pro-Death groups and the Family didn't have the resources to pull apart the Jury's and Michael would have. Law need to be made that state the Life should be done when not sure. But in Terri Case the Judge Made Up HIS mind that she wanted to die and he was SURE. That means that Distric and Supreme court Judges needed to decide if he was right or wrong. Those Judges Decide he knows best and passed on making a Dession. We need Judges who will say wait a min. this is someone life we are talking about lets look at this case. If they have questions then kick it back assign it to a new Judge or Decided the case themselves.

Robert

Posted by: Robert M at April 22, 2005 11:08 AM

Tim:

I'm sorry but yes and no. Parts of it worked just as intented, other parts failed miserably.

Two major landmarks in the case I can think of are the fact that it was accepted that the two (three?) instances in which Terri expressed a wish not to be kept alive had merit and that it had more or less the same value as a living will and the ruling that she was PVS which was necessary because Florida law wouldn't allow removal of the feeding tube under any less severe diagnosis.

As far as I understand it, as soon as those decisions were made, everything that happened after basically didn't have a whole lot of point to it.

So at this point court-wise you have a hypothetical someone who is in a medicial condition where the law gives that person the right to choose an end to their life and who choices to invoke it. My expectation here is that at this point it's the system's duty to protect the individual's choice (be that a choice for life or a choice for end of life) granted by law and uphold it and that's precisely what the judiciary system did. So as far as I'm concerned that part of it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Now going back to the reality of Terri's case I think it failed because the two things I mentioned seem at best, open to debate, and at the worst they're a wrong ruling. Why it failed would be whichever the reason is why the Schindlers weren't ever in a position to contest those two rulings after they were made (or did I miss that nuance and they contested and Greer just ruled on PVS every time?) either in Greer's court or to get another judge to either confirm or void the earlier ruling.

Personally I think all the other side questions don't really come into play here because they primarily questioned Michael's capacity of being a guardian. Obviously it's also an important issue since if he's not acting in her best interest, he shouldn't be guardian in which case he doesn't get to make any kind of decision but the issues behind those two seemingly uncontestable rulings doesn't magically dissapear because of that. They would have reappeared in the next case where you have a guardian who did always act in someone's best interest.

The main difference is that you'd want a prejudged system that ends with Terri being kept alive and I'd want a fair one that given that she didn't express a clear wish does its best to determine that with what's available.
Obviously what's there right now, doesn't please either of us much.

If it was my call to make or if I had the means for it, I'd fund an independent, unbiased group of lawyers or experts to go over a whole bunch of contested end of life cases and look for things where there are flaws and work to come up with a list of recommendations for change in either court procedure or law, study it and then lobby to have whichever one they came up with and which makes sense changed or made into law.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 22, 2005 12:49 PM

Robert,

Did you know that there are actually four branches of govt in this country. Or at least there were and are still supposed to be. The fourth and most powerful of all is the jury. A real jury judges the law first. If it's a good law and the accused broke it, they convict. If it's a bad law they acquit, no matter if the person broke that law or not. In this way the people have the final and absolute say over what laws are enforced and what aren't. If the jury doesn't back them they're not worth the paper they're written on. Sherri discovered that it was the juries who ended the laws against harboring run away slaves and also against prohibition. Since then the evil ones have done away with juries by several different means.

You really must read Spooner's essay to the full impact and implications of this. Tom has good info on his site and so does Sherri, and we are looking into the process by which they disarmed the people so that we may re-arm ourselves. Spooner also speaks of why it is impossible to correct a corrupt system by replacing corrupt people with incorrupt. I think it was Naathan Rothschild who said, "Let me write the laws of a country and I don't care how large their army is, I will own that country." That's the gist of it, anyway, and it has been proven true. Regard America! Look into it, Robert.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 22, 2005 2:33 PM

Vanessa,

Finally made it back to comment some more. Thank you for your measured response to me, and I thank you for writing me back.

I see that we are pretty different. I just want to say on what you said:
"I don't think I ever outright defended the person of Michael or argued that Terri should die without condition."

I do apologize, as I thought it was so, and I was wrong.

I do want to say that I really don't think I agree that any witch hunting has gone on that I have seen. But people have been startled by the things that have come out and the illegalities and collusion that came to light. I am not saying those terms as name calling, but as literal terms. I think a lot of people here have gone to great lengths to restrain their passions when necessary for discussion and for efforts on behalf of what we are about here. But killing others does lead to passion, that can't be helped.

I do think Terri was wrongfully killed.

I think where I disagree with you would be that I don't think of Terri as having had her life forcefully prolonged. I think she was alive, and if she was terminal, she would have died, because she wasn't on breathing machines - her heart wasn't forced to pump.

I think of feeding tubes as just another way of being nourished, just different from eating by mouth. I went to a restaurant the other day with my dad, and there were a man and woman there, and the man was giving the woman food through a tube, somehow. I didn't stare, but it was interesting to note that she was perfectly vital and living and real and they were also talking and having conversation. It was just an example to me of this that I am saying.

So, I think feeding tubes are not a forceful prolonging of a life, at all.

I suppose the other difference for me from your beliefs is that when you say "if you end a life, that also has to be done for the proper reasons",
I would say that there is never a proper reason to end a life. Because I believe in God, I believe that only He can choose that proper time and reason, and we should let go and let Him do that. Will it cost us sometimes, to let go and let God, so to speak? Sure, but it will also reward us a lot, I believe.

I had many disabled friends in high school and college. That was because both my brother and I helped out with a group called the "Wheelers and Dealers Club", which sold various items to raise money for their outings, etc., and was composed of various disabled people. Through those years, four of them passed away, and it was very tough on the rest of us. We missed them terribly. I don't remember a single caretaker or parent who cut off their nourishment during that time.

They could have, and might have been urged to by doctors if it were as it is today. We loved them; we did not long for them to leave us. There could never have been a proper time to 'end' their lives. It would not matter if they had been stronger in the past and now were more disabled then before.

What we loved were their spirits. Their real selves, which shone through even as they became less able than formerly. Their humor, which stayed intact. Their love for certain things and people. Their likes and dislikes.

At no point could we have said, 'now is the proper time to end their lives', because it would have been never, for us. When they died, God decided it was time, as He will for me, and for my loved ones.

Were they hard to care for in the end? Sure. Was there a cost? Yes. But there was so much love and humor and bonding that was far, far more rewarding than the worries about the difficulties of care.

Well, that's pretty long, and I'm sorry for that, too. But that's just where and why I believe differently from you.

Vanessa, understanding what you do believe, now, I still would like to ask you why you continue to be here. Is it just addicting (it is sometimes for me, to be on the internet, so I'm not asking something that I couldn't also struggle with). Or is it something different? I am just curious as to what keeps you around, when you so disbelieve in what we are pursuing, praying for, calling for, sending emails for, etc. But maybe it is just that you hope to change our minds. I hope that isn't it, Vanessa, because I don't see that happening, really.

I'm sorry, too, because I need to press on with doing things that are helpful - and the brainstorming we've been doing is helping develop some things. But, I won't be able to comment to you much more, just because of time, except to let other know where you really stand, as you have indicated. So that they won't get sidetracked when you comment. And perhaps that could be the reason you are sticking around, too.

The best reason would be because you really are curious about why we stand for life.

Posted by: juleni at April 22, 2005 4:19 PM

juleni:

I'm sorry but you misunderstood me. I didn't say I thought Terri's life was forcefully prolonged, I said I think it's wrong when that should happen to anyone in general.
I don't know what she would have wanted and in no way is that even something for me to make a call on. My only concern is that people don't selfishly decide for her, or anyone else for that matter, whichever way that might be.
What I do know is that the final call that was made, doesn't feel right. Not because it caused her death, but because to me personally it didn't feel like a whole lot of people were acting in her best interests and because there was reason for doubt and because the decision wasn't made in full fairness.

I don't care if someone is hooked up to a room full of medicial equipment where every possible bodily function is being performed by machines, as long as that is what that person wishes. If they want to go to that much length to cling to life that's their call to make. It's their life, not mine and I won't judge them for it.

If any of my loved ones are ever in a situation where they can't care for themselves and someone else needs to make decisions for them I will fight tooth and nail to make sure they get what they want, regardless of my personal feelings.
If they're ill and there's a chance that they'll get better I'll cling to that. If they're in a situation with no hope and are suffering but don't want to die, I'll be on any doctor's case who tries to do something about it. But if I'm utterly and beyond any doubt convinced that they're asking for an end and do so for a sustained period of time I am not going to intervene and let my own personal, selfish wishes overrule theirs.

I have absolutely zero interest in changing anyone's mind which seems to be another big difference. The fact that you believe in something different than me doesn't actually bother me in the least. What does bother me is when it leads to prejudgement.
I see as much of an injustice with people wrongfully deciding that someone should die as you do.

Now you can choose to either put rules in place in the system that exists right now and then go back to fighting for your ideology or you can forego that and just focus solely on the ideology. I just happen to think that the first has a chance of working and the second is unlikely to provide any protection in the short term, if ever at all.
With an ever growing base of elderly the abuse isn't going to get any better, it's only going to grow steadily worse and the more stress they will put on the healthcare system the less likely anyone in power is going to be thinking in terms of life but more in terms how much it costs to maintain that life.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 22, 2005 7:50 PM

How long is Judge Greer's term? I hope it's his last term. What he has done is a travesty to the law.

Posted by: Bella at April 27, 2005 3:16 PM