Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pull the plug on pandering

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Pull the plug on pandering
Congress, president have no business in Schiavo case
AUSTIN, Texas -- I write about the Terry Schiavo case both as one who has personally confronted the "pull the plug" question on several levels in recent years and as a staggered observer of this festival of political hypocrisy, opportunism and the trashing of constitutional law, common sense and common decency.

Look, the fundamental question in such cases is, "Who decides?" Preferably, the dying themselves, with a living will. In this case, evidence that Terry Schiavo did not want her life continued in its current pitiable state has been offered and accepted in several courts of law. Next, the next-of-kin, though in many cases someone else may be closer to the dying person, such as a longtime lover, and should be legally designated to make the decision through power of attorney.

Bad cases make bad law, and this is a bad case. In the tragic cases where a family splits on the decision, the case goes to court, where there is a well-established body of law on the subject. The Schiavo case has been litigated for seven years now, the verdict upheld at every level (including the U.S. Supreme Court, by refusing to hear arguments). It is beyond comprehension, not to mention the Constitution, that the Congress of the United States and the president should have involved themselves at this point.

What on earth makes them think they have the right to do so? Both libertarians and constitutional conservatives, including Justice Scalia, should be having fits over this push by the federal government into a private family matter....