Matt Conigliaro on Terri Schiavo

Matt Conigliaro on
Terri Schiavo

For those who are interested in a
reasonable attempt to look at the reality of the Terri Schiavo case,
Matt Conigliaro has an amazingly
detailed information page
, including a list
of questions and answers
demonstrates how reductionist the media coverage (and Congressional
“inquiry”) has become. Conigliaro is an appellate lawyer and has run a
website for over two years focused on Florida law, and his coverage of
the case over that time period has led to (relatively ridiculous)
accusations of bias from both sides of the ostensible debate. Reading
his numerous posts, it's hard to see that bias; instead, he seems to be
a good legal analyst, and very empathetic to both positions in what is
fundamentally an emotionally wrenching
debate however you look at it.

After reading Conigliaro's chronology and Q&A section,
I'm left with the understanding that every single
that has held a hearing has concluded that Schiavo
is in a persistent vegetative state and that there is clear
and convincing evidence

the strongest burden of proof available in civil cases — that she
would have wished removal of life support measures. This determination
was based on more than just evidence from reports of conversations
with her husband, as well, something that's not mentioned too much in
media reports of the conflict. I'm also left with the realization that
every attempt to subvert the ultimate court rulings have come from the
realm of politics — initially, Terri's Law, and now, a farcical consensus
bill from the U.S. Congress
, something that manages to be
both unsurprising and terrifying at the same time.

I've been confused about — and while slightly less so,
remain confused about — is what the law being rushed through Congress
right now aims to do. It seems from reports that it's a case-specific
law, allowing Federal judicial review of the state court rulings in
Schiavo's case; what I don't understand is how there's some idea that
this will lead to a different outcome. As I understand it, the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has denied every appeal and dismissed
every case brought by those who have tried to overturn the rulings of
the Florida courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court has
twice declined to intervene, once in January and
once yesterday. So we now seem to have have what
might be well less than a majority of our
(since it only takes a majority of
present legislators, not of all legislators, to pass a law) furiously posturing,
and the President himself returning to Washington, D.C. early, all in
the name of likely having no effect on the ultimate outcome whatsoever.

the end, it seems that most everyone agrees on the right
for people to create formal living wills that spell out how we wish
to be treated in the case of tragedies like this. In Schiavo's case,
there isn't a written living will, but every level of court available
for recourse has determined her wishes in a manner that is as legally
binding as a living will would have been. In spite of this, we now
have the highest elected body of legislators in the country acting to
force an entirely different set of wishes. What gives them the right?
What would prevent Congress — or any elected body — from acting
similarly even if a formal living will existed? Therein lies the real
horror of the Schiavo case; apparently, it's one more way that some
seem willing to let the lawmakers of this country intrude on the
private debates
and decisions of its citizens. [Q
Daily News

Categorized as News

Leave a comment