Monday, March 21, 2005

Terry Schiavo: Too Bad She's Not A Convicted Killer

I was fortunate to get 15 seconds on Hugh Hewitt's show today (yes, I was concentrating hard as I spat out 60 seconds' worth of thoughts in 1/4 that time). Foolishly, I promised Hugh I'd blog a little more about the Schiavo case. Well, what I have said already about the case is here and here; it's now really late at night and my powers of expression are flagging.

Fortunately, frequent Hedgehog Blog contributor (and Hewitt show caller) Ralph Kostant comes to the rescue with another dandy set of thoughts, this time in the form of a letter to the editor of the L.A. Times:

Editor, The Los Angeles Times:

It is unfortunate for Terry Schiavo that she is not a convicted killer. Had she committed a heinous murder, and a Florida judge had ordered that she be deprived of food and water until she died, would there be any doubt that a Federal District Court would have jurisdiction to intervene on a petition in habeus corpus, on the basis of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment? And would there be any doubt that the Los Angeles Times would applaud that intervention, even though it would involve Federal Court review of the State of Florida’s laws and judicial procedures? Sadly, Terry Schiavo is not a condemned murderer. Her only crime is insufficient quality of life, in the opinion of her husband, and therefore a Florida judge may sentence her to death by dehydration and starvation, with the editorial approval of the Los Angeles Times.

Ralph B. Kostant

Indeed. Remember when writing a letter to the editor and hoping it would be published was the only means of expressing oneself about public issues? It was not all that long ago, friends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before anyone else points out my error, let me correct myself by noting that the prohibition in the U.S. Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment is found in the 8th Amendment, not the 5th Amendment. Interestingly enough, the prohibition is not limited to criminal cases. I would be interested in references to knowledgable discussions of whether a patient in a chronic vegetative state, such as Terry Schiavo, would suffer physical pain from dehydration and starvation. If that is the case, hasn't the Florida judge who ordered her feeding and hydration tubes removed inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on her? 

Posted by Ralph Kostant

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 3:45:00 PM  

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