April 6, 2005
Most lawmakers want to put Schiavo case behind themTopics: News
- via email from reader Cherwyn
(USATODAY)Congress returned from a two-week Easter recess with mixed emotions about its intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, the mostly negative public reaction and whether more legislation is warranted.
While a few lawmakers sought to punish the federal judges who rebuffed their hastily passed law aimed at getting Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted, most tried to put some distance between their action in March and what's on their plate this month. (Related story: GOP's moral agenda doubted)
"I think we ought to let the rhetoric cool off," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Tuesday.
Nonetheless, Congress returned this week bubbling with the emotional issues and public policy debates raised by Schiavo's plight.
A Senate committee looking at whether the medical treatment of disabled people such as Schiavo should be better defined was warned to tread carefully by a University of Kansas special education professor, who is the father of a retarded son.
Rud Turnbull of Lawrence, Kan., father of 37-year-old Jay Turnbull, worries that efforts to define who gets life-sustaining care and who doesn't may discriminate against the disabled.
"Those debates frighten me, and they should alarm you, too," Turnbull told a Senate Health Committee hearing Wednesday. "The slippery slope is slick and awaits us all."
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is writing legislation that would let federal courts review cases like Schiavo's -- when there is no advance directive and there's a dispute over the person's wishes.
(...) However, other Republicans, chastened by polls showing that a large majority of Americans disapproved of Congress inserting itself into the Schiavo case, said both parties should back off from any efforts to take further action.
(...) "I don't think there's a groundswell up here to take this issue and federalize it," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
(...) Added Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.: "I'm not for things that go after judges. They're an independent branch of government. We need to respect that."
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Posted by richard at April 6, 2005 4:40 PM
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