Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Schiavo case: report on oral argument
A file report from the Associate Press (courtesy of the Winston-Salem Journal) reports (Sept. 1): Justice Charles Wells said he was troubled because he had to conclude that 'Terri's Law,' passed last October, was intended to sidestep a trial-court ruling that found 'clear and convincing evidence' that Schiavo would not want to be kept alive artificially." The Governor's attorneys, on the other hand, argued that "'[t]he legislature gave this power to the governor because the governor ... is the ultimate defender of people's civil rights in the state,' and "that the courts do not have the 'exclusive domain' of protecting the rights of disabled people."
The N.Y. Times' Abby Goodnough reports in today's paper:
The seven justices appeared especially troubled that "Terri's Law" was written to apply only to Mrs. Schiavo. Courts are often skeptical of legislation that applies to only one person, raising questions of denial of equal protection and due process.And the AP also reports (courtesy of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune) that the appellate judge in the Second Circuit Court whose rulings have consistently favored the legal positions of Michael Schiavo against the claims of his wife's parents coasted to re-election yesterday by a comfortable 64-36 margin (with 30 percent of the precincts reporting).
The justices also focused on the fact that the law did not require the governor to abide by any standards or procedures, as he is required to do when ordering stays of execution in capital punishment cases.
"The Legislature stepped in here and reversed a decision that was final," Justice Charles Wells said.