A Times Editorial
Congressional Republicans show they'll do anything to pander to conservatives, while Judge Greer shows courage in protecting Terri Schiavo's rights.
Published March 19, 2005
Of all the twists and turns in the Terri Schiavo case over the years, the most ridiculous is the grandstand play by Congress to issue subpoenas for her. It was a gross misuse of power by conservative Republicans who have no respect for the law, the courts or the rights of individuals. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer showed tremendous courage by ignoring the subpoenas Friday afternoon and directing that Schiavo's feeding tube be removed.
The subpoenas, which also were issued for Schiavo's husband and her caregivers, were a last resort after the U.S. House and Senate could not agree on how to legislatively barge into her Pinellas Park hospice room. Committee hearings also were scheduled under the guise of a dignified study of end-of-life procedures, but this is nothing but Congress playing judge, doctor and guardian.
What should be a somber private moment has again turned into a national circus, and congressional Republicans are largely responsible. They know nothing about Schiavo's severe brain damage, her wishes to avoid feeding tubes or years of reviews by medical experts and the courts. Yet House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told the world Schiavo does not want to die. These are dangerous men who will say anything to sway the public and pander to conservative groups who have made this a crusade.
Even as Schiavo's feeding tube was removed Friday, the power politics continued. DeLay and his colleagues pledged to work through the weekend on federal legislation, which could affect the rights of all Americans to have their end-of-life wishes carried out. Gov. Jeb Bush indicated he will pressure state Senate Republicans who rejected an attempt to interfere with Schiavo to reconsider. There are many tragic elements to the Schiavo case. One of them is that while shameless politicians demagogue her situation, the circuit judge who has quietly spent years on her case needs armed guards. However the latest chapter plays out, Judge Greer has shown remarkable guts in following the law that protects the rights of Schiavo and all Floridians to determine how they want to be cared for in their final days.
[Last modified March 19, 2005, 01:01:18]
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