pühapäev, märts 27, 2005

A Glimpse of the Future of American Right Wing Assholery

Via Knight-Ridder, a conservative political figure spells out for us exactly how he plans to exploit the Schiavo situation in a grossly dishonest fashion, as conservative political figures often do:

"The Schiavo case has further inflamed conservatives' long-standing antipathy toward the judiciary. The charge is that federal judges have defied Congress and sentenced her to death. Some religious conservative leaders, in fact, believe that "Remember Terri!" will become the movement's rallying cry. Gary Bauer, a religious conservative leader and former Republican presidential candidate, said, "If or when Terri passes away, she will become a symbol of conservative anger and disdain for what we see as out-of-control federal courts that are making decisions way beyond what they are authorized to do."

Let me just repeat: "making decisions way beyond what they are authorized to do."

Because the courts allegedly rejected the US Congress' efforts to insert themselves into one family's private medical decision. The courts went beyong their authority. Congress was totally in line though. Right. Makes sense.

See, what pisses me off is that anybody who thinks this has no understanding at all of the law and has no business criticizing judges for anything. If you want to blame somebody, blame the Florida legislature for passing an unambiguous law that clearly states that the husband has the authority to make medical decisions for his wife. The Schindlers were unable to make a compelling legal argument to supercede the power given to Michael Schiavo by law. Judges don't make laws. They uphold them. And yet they blame the courts for somehow overstepping their bounds by not doing something about a private dispute in which neither party is breaking the law. Gotta love the definition of "activist judge" that extends to judges who don't act on something at all. As this case makes abundantly clear, even a conservative Christian Republican judge like Judge Greer will uphold the law and the constitution rather than cave in to idiots screaming about "judicial murder". It terrifies me to think, if they've got a problem with all 30 something of these judges (including the entire federal appeals court for the southeast and the entire Supreme Court), what kind of judges are they looking for?

So just to reiterate: Florida law gives Michael Schiavo the right to make this decision. The Schindlers, as is their right, challenge that right in court. Two full trials are held and Michael wins both and all subsequent appeals. The Schindlers still file motions to stop him. The court follows a strict interpretation of the law. The Schindlers appeal. The appeals court follows a strict interpretation of the law. The Florida legislature passes "Terri's Law", a law they know is unconstitutional and will not be upheld just so they can take illegal action without consequences within the brief window of time needed to declare it unconstitutional. Then Terri's Law is declared unconstitutional. The Florida legislature chooses not to pass another unconstitutional law to prevent a husband from granting his wife's final wish. Republicans in Congress and President Bush decide they know better than the Florida legislature and 19 judges. They ram through a likely unconsitutional law that calls for a new trial in federal court. (This would also be the point where Bush flies home from Texas and goes to sleep so he can be awakened at 1 am to sign it in DC rather than just signing it at 3 am in Texas, which would have made absolutely no difference under any circumstances since no action could be taken until the courts opened in the morning.)A federal judge holds a hearing to determine whether an injunction should be issued to put the tube back in until that trial can be held, as is the proper procedure. As the law dictates, that judge must consider whether the Schindlers are likely to win that trial before taking action to invalidate an existing court order. The federal judge, a 3 judge federal appeals panel, an entire federal district appeals court, and the US Supreme Court all refuse to file that injunction, citing the lack of a chance in hell that the Schindlers will win. Conservative Christians whine like little bitches. Let me just emphasize again that this decision was a necessary first step in the process that Congress apparently forgot about. The Schindlers appeal again. The judges again follow the established legal procedures required in situations like this and deny it.

But it's the judges who are the problem here? Scalia wasn't even willing to speak up against the lower courts' decisions. He could have written a dissenting opinion if he disagreed. Do you realize how wrong you need to be when Scalia won't support a Christian conservative moral argument?
The judges were right. The system worked exactly the way it is supposed to. Nothing went wrong here, other than the courts being clogged for years with baseless, hopeless appeals by this family and their rather incompetent attorneys.

I don't really expect the kind of person who respects Gary Bauer to understand that, but I know he does and it makes me sick that he's willing to mislead his followers about it.

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