The Republican federal judge makes the right move and refuses to order that Terri Schiavo’s ordeal be further prolonged against her stated will:
Judge James D. Whittemore of Federal District Court here, ruling on an emergency request that had been made possible only by the intervention of Congress and President Bush, said that Ms. Schiavo’s case had already been “exhaustively litigated” and that the parents of the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman had not established a “substantial likelihood of success” at a new trial on the merits of their arguments…
The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, who has sometimes commented on the case on behalf of the parents, said today: “The arrogance of Judge Whittemore is extraordinary. How dare he wait 24 hours to issue this ruling?” “He shows a profound lack of respect for the disabled of America by denying her constitutional rights,” he added. “He has robbed Terri’s legal team of literally a day and a half of the appeals process.” He said the family was hopeful of a successful outcome in the appeals court, adding “Florida has just not been good on this.”
Of all the cynical dissembling from the right on this issue, perhaps particularly offensive is the repeated invocation of the rights of the disabled, a group whose rights the Republican party has spent the past few decades since the first ADA steadily working to erode. At the core of the rights of the disabled is the right to autonomy and self-determination, a right which society too often denies the very people whose bodily conditions have already reduced their control over their lives. The use the mantle of disabled rights to argue for extending the biological functions of someone who has no meaningful consciousness, and to do so against the will she expressed when she was conscious, is the height of hypocrisy.