Thursday, March 31, 2005

Too early to award Scumbag of the Year?

Via Greg at Sinister Thoughts, we find a very sinister thought from House Republican bigshot Tom DeLay:
"This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change," the Texas Republican said. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another." [Greg's emphasis]

The fact that he is unquestionably referring to the bevy of judges who reviewed Terri Schiavo's case goes well beyond "way out of line". If Michael Schiavo was right (and this, broadly speaking, is what Terri would have wanted), then DeLay's problem is entirely with the applicable laws, and not at all with those who interpreted them--in which case, he should be making his veiled threats at Florida legislators and his own colleagues.

If Michael Schiavo was wrong (or lying, cold-blooded killer, etc.), then again, DeLay's problem is with the applicable laws and the Florida and U.S. justice systems. A trial judge made findings of fact based on the applicable laws, and countless appeal judges found no cause to overturn them. This is how the system works. What the hell does he want! Should trials be Best 2 out of 3?

If judges should be erring on the side of life, then the solution for Mr. DeLay (and Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn, et al) is to write a law that says, "In the absence of a notarized living will, feeding tube stays in, regardless of what the spouse/family/lawyer says."

I hope that outcome isn't the result of this hard case, because if I become incapacitated, I'd rather have my medical treatment guided by my wife than by 50%+1 of my legislators. She knows me better than "the majority". The nice feature of this is that it protects me in both directions. Whether the government becomes overrun with nice folks with a deep belief in "life for the sake of life", or a bunch of accountants who decide that people who are incapacitated are a burden on the state (and they plan to unburden it), my treatment is guided by someone who loves me - not my soul or the hospital bed I'm occupying indefinitely.

Ronald Bailey at Hit & Run excerpted a short bit from the New England Journal of Medicine, which defines the two ways the politicians can go quite nicely. I happen to agree with the conclusion. If you don't, please take your beef to legislators, and leave the poor judges alone.
"Erring on the side of life" in this context often results in violating a person's body and human dignity in a way few would want for themselves. In such situations, erring on the side of liberty--specifically, the patient's right to decide on treatment-- is more consistent with American values and our constitutional traditions.


At 7:35 a.m., Blogger Chris Selley said...

"Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another."

Well I'm not doing any of those things today, but I'm curious as to what "fate" DeLay is talking about. Death? I'm rabidly anti-death, absolutely, but surely he doesn't mean that. Does he actually think that the basic facts of Terri Schiavo's fate haven't befallen anyone before, and might never again if he and the rest of his perfervidly "prayerful" bunch clench their teeth and furrow their brows hard enough? That is misinformed, undignified and loony. It's like something from an alternate universe, as indeed was the whole Schiavo mess.

At 9:22 a.m., Blogger Sacamano said...

The ironic thing is that Delay himself pulled the plug on his own father in 1988.

I guess he has had a change of heart.


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