Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Schiavo case: Disturbing abuse of power

By now, almost every American is surely aware of the Terri Schiavo case, which has been dominating headlines for the last few days. An extrodinary amount of media attention has been focused on this case.

For the past several years, Michael Schiavo has fought to allow his wife's feeding tube to be disconnected because she is brain-dead and in a persistent vegetative state. He's won - numerous times - but Terri is still alive.

Michael insists that Terri told him she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially, and he says he is carrying out her wishes.

Her parents, on the other stand, appear to be delusional. They believe that Terri could eventually recover, and they don't want her to die.

The case has been rehashed so many times over, and it is absolutely appalling to see the Christian right and GOP politicians engaging in this very disturbing abuse of power. In Florida, Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature tried to intervene to save Terri's life even after courts agreed with Michael Schiavo and ordered Terri's feeding tube disconnected.

The Florida Supreme Court later ruled "Terri's Law" was unconstitutional.

Finally, over a week ago, Terri's parents, the Schindlers, had exhausted all their legal options in state court, and the feeding tube was disconnected again.

Then, in a disturbing intrusion into states' rights, Congress was quickly called together to pass a federal law for the sole purpose of saving Schiavo's life by putting the matter into federal court. Putting aside the fact that Congress has better things to do, and ignoring the fact that Bush, DeLay, and Co. have a double standard when it comes to fighting for the "culture of life", the law represented an unheard of violation of family privacy.

So far, two federal courts have refused to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube. The case is now being appealed to the Supreme Court by the Schindlers. The White House acknowledges it has no legal options left, and Jeb Bush is hard at work again trying to convince the Florida legislature to pass another "Terri's Law".

He's even considering, using his authority as Governor of Florida, to try to take custody of Schiavo. Such a move would be completely illegal and despicable, and the controversy could be very harmful to the GOP.

This is an outrage. Why is it that conservatives can't respect the decisions of our courts? This legislative and executive interference is a complete violation of the seperation of powers. It's time for Jeb & George W to respect the decisions of the judicial branch and stop meddling in family affairs.

Andrew Jackson once said of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, "Chief Justice Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it".

We cannot afford any modern-day Andrew Jacksons ignoring the decisions of our courts and acting on their own as they see fit. That will be the end of our democracy and the beginning of a theocracy. We cannot and must not allow that to happen.

Terri Schiavo deserves the right to die in peace. It's time for the GOP to stop pandering to the religious right and step away from this case. If they cannot, they should be prosecuted for their breach of the seperation of powers.

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