Friday, September 24, 2004

Statement of the Schindler Family

Yesterday, after the Florida Supreme Court struck down "Terri's Law", the Schindler family issued this statement:


Statement by Schindler Family in Response
to Florida Supreme Court Ruling


For years now lawyers and judges – all of them total strangers – have besieged our family stating in courtrooms and the media that our severely disabled daughter, Terri, must be starved to death. We have been told that she must die in order to protect her right of privacy. And now the Florida Supreme Court tells us that a law crafted to save Terri’s life is unconstitutional when it is applied to her. None of this makes any sense to us.

The ruling by the Florida Supreme Court today was not unexpected; nevertheless the family is disappointed at the outcome. We would like everyone to understand the reason the Florida legislature and Governor Bush interceded in Terri’s case was to protect Terri from a serious miscarriage of justice. The Governor specifically wanted answers to the following questions, all of which are extremely troubling: (1) Why Terri’s purported desire to die was hidden from the jury in the 1992 medical malpractice case, during which Michael Schiavo testified that Terri would need compensation to live out her life; (2) What did Michael Schiavo mean when he purportedly said at Palm Gardens Nursing Home such things as “When is she going to die?” “Has she died yet?” “When is that bitch going to die?” “Can’t you do anything to accelerate her death?” (3) What Michael Schiavo knows about the multiple traumatic injuries of relatively recent origin that were found to be present in a bone scan conducted on Terri by Dr. Campbell Walker in March of 1991? (4) Why were nurses’ notes which documented Terri’s rehabilitation potential deleted from her chart at Palm Gardens? (5) Why were observations of the nursing assistants regarding Terri’s level of function and responsiveness deleted from her chart? and (6) What would Terri’s desires be regarding who should make end-of-life decisions for her if she knew that Michael Schiavo was living with another woman who has borne two children by him?

The family knows that Terri never expressed a desire to be starved to death, and the Legislature and Governor thought the case troubling enough to get involved directly. We profoundly regret that the Florida Supreme Court felt compelled to ignore these questions and opted instead to issue a technical legal decision that doesn’t protect Terri from the cadre of crusaders who are so desperate for our daughter be starved to death. The family knew that this outcome was probable and so we are pursuing other legal avenues, which we hope will save Terri’s life. The family appreciates all those who have supported their fight to save Terri, and again express to them our sincere gratitude. The family also will forever be grateful to Governor Bush and his legal team for their devotion to saving Terri’s life.


Contributions and/or help in the fight to save Terri's life may be made at TerrisFight.org.

Cheryl Ford Has a Blog!

Cheryl Ford RN, is the nurse who discovered the "Exit Protocol" I published a couple of weeks ago, detailing in cold clinical detail how to end Terri's life.

Cheryl has a blog, Fight4Terri.blogspot.com.

Cheryl has firsthand access to lots of information, so it's a good idea to keep on eye on her blog. Check it out!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Florida Supreme Court Rules Against "Terri's Law"

Today the Florida Supreme Court handed down their ruling on the constitutionality of "Terri's Law", the law passed last October by the Florida Legislature which gave Govenor Bush the power to intervene to save Terri's life.

Unfortunately, as I speculated before, this is pretty much the outcome I expected. It was clear from the questioning of the Supreme Court justices that they had pretty much made up their minds about the case.

You can get the ruling yourself here (Adobe PDF file). Thanks to Amy Welborn for finding the link to the case file.

I have only quickly skimmed through the ruling, but it seems to rest on the legal issues I have identified before, namely:

Separation of powers: In our system of government, the functions of the Executive branch, the Courts, and the Legislature are clearly delineated. Except when judges legislate from the bench by discovering new rights in the Constitution which the framers somehow forgot to spell out. But that's OK because it's judges who are doing it, and judges are really smart, and, after all, they really know best. In this case, it means that only judges get to make life or death decisions regarding helpless women who can't speak for themselves.

Irreviewability Of Judicial Decisions of Fact: The Supreme Court recites Judge Greer's decisions of fact, such as that Terri is in a Persistent Vegetative State, as gospel. Ditto for the judge's ruling, based on husband Michael's testimony and not much else, that Terri wouldn't have wanted to go on living like this. The Schindler's and Governor Bush have repeatedly asked for new hearings to review thses and other issues, citing new evidence and ample reason to suspect that evidence was not fairly considered before, but have been rebuffed.

This decision strengthens the ability of judges to make rulings of fact without fear of review or appeal. Judges' rulings of fact are now virtually incapable of being reviewed in Florida. In other words, a judge could, for all intents and purposes, rule that the sky is green. And once he has done so, you can point to the sky all you want and say it's blue, and it won't matter a whit to the courts.

I hope to post more later, when I have time to go through the ruling in greater depth, and if I can reach the Schindlers to get their reactions.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sorry To Be So Invisible...

Over the last week or so. I've been away from my parish. I was on the East Coast last week, and spent last weekend visiting Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Among other things, I attended the annual Partnership Dinner for Crisis Magazine in Washington Friday night. It was an outstanding evening, and I was able to see some old friends there and meet some new ones.

I also was able to meet and have dinner with fellow bloggers Zorak and The Old Oligarch Sunday evening. We've never met before, but we quickly warmed up to each other and had a great time. The conversation ranged from Pistols to Patristics. The O.O. introduced me to one of his delights, Absinthe, otherwise known as Wormwood liqueur. It was interesting stuff, but I don't know that I'll make a habit of drinking it.

Sorry, but though I now know the secret identities of the O.O. and Zorak, I'm sworn to secrecy. You'll never get it out of me!

This evening, my diocese's (Kalamazoo, Michigan) Priest's Convocation begins in the Detroit area. This is a pow-wow in which we priests and our Bishop get together and talk about priest stuff.

I'll try to blog more later, but I'll have limited opportunity to do so until Wednesday.