Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo: Congress vs. Judges

I found quite a contrast in the coverage of the legal and constitutional issues that have been brought out by the Terri Schiavo case. CNN ran an article on by Edward Lazarus, FindLaw columnist, special to It is entitled “Why Congress didn't help Terri Schiavo's parents.” It speaks to why Congress was wrong in trying to intervene in Terri Schiavo’s case. Some of the points include:

* … Congress did three independently troubling things at the same time. Again, it is highly debatable whether or not these three actions are lawful. …

* Aside from these three serious problems …, Congress's action was irresponsible and cruel: It was irresponsible because it forced the federal courts into the midst of a highly emotional and divisive political battle, and it was cruel it gave the Schindlers false hope. …

* Fortunately, however, the same pro-life forces who sought help for Terri have also begun to realize that Congress gave them too little, too late. Once Terri passes into the next life, one question remaining will be whether Congress will pay a price for making a terrible tragedy that much worse.

Fox, on the other hand, ran a story entitled, “GOP goes on judicial offensive.” This article says:

* "This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Thursday after receiving news of Schiavo's death. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another." …

* While Democrats on Thursday lamented Congress' intervention in the ordeal, some Republicans vowed to cure what they considered to be a moral injustice.

* In a later conference call with reporters, Santorum said the courts had practiced nothing less than "judicial tyranny" in this case and took aim at those who say Congress overstepped its bounds. "[This is] routinely done by the courts — deciding they are now a super-legislature," Santorum said. "I'm not sure if the press realizes how serious this conflict is between the branches of government and how gravely concerned members of Congress are with [the] kinds of judicial tyranny we've seen. ... "To suggest Congress has exceeded power shows you there are judges who simply ignore written law and substitute their own judgments."

* [Note: Fox does give the Democratic viewpoint on this as well but the GOP view is the headline and the first part of the article.]

Links to the articles:,2933,152095,00.html


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