Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The 11th Circuit And The Schiavo Case

A surprising and depressing day. It appears that two members of the three-judge Court of Appeals panel considered the Schiavo case as if were simply another garden-variety injunction matter. To me, that means those two are either cowards, or had decided in advance on the result they wanted, or both.

So Congress gathered from the four corners of the nation and met at midnight on a Sunday, and President Bush flew to D.C. from Texas and signed the bill after 1:00 a.m., so that the judiciary could say, "ho-hum," and dispose of this as if it were a routine matter?

Words fail me.

I'm busy with court matters of my own so may be able to blog only lightly, if at all, on the 11th Circuit decision. For now, Hugh tells you a lot here. Deacon of Power Line has some very helpful links as well, including an excerpt from the lone dissenting judge's opinion that says just about all that needs to be said about why the decision is so wrong. The intent of Congress, Judge Wilson wrote,

is to maintain the status quo by keeping Theresa Schiavo alive until the federal courts have a new and adequate opportunity to consider the constitutional issues raised by Plaintiffs. The entire purpose of the statute was to give the federal courts an opportunity to consider the merits of Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims with a fresh set of eyes. Denial of Plaintiffs’ petition cuts sharply against that intent, which is evident to me from the language of the statute, as well as the swift and unprecedented manner of its enactment. Theresa Schiavo’s death, which is imminent, effectively ends the litigation without a fair opportunity to fully consider the merits of Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.
It must be noted that reportedly, the two judges voting against further action are Clinton appointees, and Judge Wilson is a Bush appointee. Tells you a lot, doesn't it? [Update: I had bad information. As commenter Ralph points out, Judge Wilson is a Clinton appointee.]

Andrew McCarthy points out:

The case now proceeds on two probable tracks: an appeal to the entire Eleventh Circuit sitting en banc, and an application to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (the Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit) for an emergency stay with a reinsertion of the feeding tube. Judge Wilson has given them a compass.
Heaven save us from arrogant judges.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've worked as an appellate lawyer for many, many years. From that unique perspective, I have witnessed the growing crisis in our court system today due to judges who don't follow the law, lie about or are indifferent to the facts, and issue opinions based on what they want the outcome to be, rather than what the law or constitution dictates. So, what's happened to poor Terry Schiavo and her family is not so shocking or surprising to me. All I can hope for is that perhaps the contemptible behavior of the judges will unmask what has been going on for too long in courtrooms across the country. But I don't really see a way to change things with the many, many judges who have contempt for the law, for legislators, and in the end for We the People. 

Posted by Joan

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only one way to deal with that, Joan: Inject a little democracy  into the process. 

Posted by Karl Maher

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, according to Andrew McCarthy's column in The National Review to which you linked, Judge Wilson was a Clinton appointee. 

Posted by Ralph Kostant

Thursday, March 24, 2005 2:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Benjamin Brashier said...

I do not think so.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 11:04:00 AM  

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