Schiavo Drama: Florida Justice in a Persistent Vegetative State

Business and family affairs converge this weekend near Tampa, Florida, where I’m listening and watching local and national coverage of the Terri Schiavo case. Here are some impressions and thoughts:

–Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer has chosen to disregard a Congressional subpoena for Terri Schiavo and ordered the feeding tube removed. What power, Congress? Greer has decided that the Congressional motion is trumped by his own court. How is this not contempt of Congress? Couldn’t federal marshals enforce the order that there be no tampering with a federal witness? Or perhaps the marshals could apprehend the state judge.

–Why are the liberals and Democrats against allowing this horribly damaged life being allowed to continue? How does the culture of death align with their political agenda?

–Activists have gathered at the hospice where Terri lives to express their views as the vigil becomes a death watch, and the legal and legislative wrangling becomes more desperate.

–The President issued a statement acknowledging the complexity of the case, but urging that error be made on the side of life.

The New York Times editorializes: “We can only lament the Republicans’ theatrical effort to expand their so-called pro-life agenda to include intervening in a case already studied and litigated exhaustively under Florida law. Congress’s rash assumption of judicial power and trampling on established state and federal constitutional precedents in “right to die” cases is nothing short of breathtaking.”

The Washington Post editorializes: “With Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube scheduled to be removed today, Congress sprang into action to pass legislation granting the federal courts the power to review the state court judgments that would let her die. (The Florida legislature is, for the second time, also acting to force her to continue living.)” (Italics mine)

More language of the culture of death.

–Many of us have had informal discussions with our spouses about not being kept alive if we’re incapacitated terribly, being kept alive on life support, or in a vegetative state. I suspect that’s the kind of discussion Terri and Michael Schiavo had. That’s clearly not good enough. It’s time to do a living will.

–The news the last few days, both here in Florida and nationally, has been dominated by news of two tragic individuals—Terri Schiavo and 9-year-old Jessica Landsford, the victim of a twisted sexual predator who confessed to stealing the little girl from her home and murdering her.

–Tampa radio host Schmidt reflects on the irony that Republican conservatives are going against the grain of their ideology of states rights in their federalizing of the Schiavo case.

–Atlanta-based syndicated radio guy Neal Boortz, who is on a station in the Tampa market, rides that point hard and is pretty ugly in his criticism of the Republicans and the pro-life activists trying to keep Terri alive. This strident libertarianism is rankling and in this case seems anti-individual and anti-freedom, rather than on the side of liberty.

–Interesting that the television stations now have, in addition to the gape-mouthed footage of Terri, a new set of photos from before her heart attack and brain damage. She was a beautiful young woman then, and it seems to garner more sympathy to have this more glamorous view. What quality of life and physical beauty do we require in order to care for those who can’t care for themselves?

There is sure to be more legal and legislative action both here in Florida and in Washington in the few days left before Terri would starve to death if nothing is done. Clearly justice is in a persistent vegetative state here in Florida, where judges were the pawns of Al Gore in the 2000 election, the allies of Fidel Castro in the Elian Gonzales travesty, and now the agents of death for the severely impaired.

–James Jewell

About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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