Judge turns down Bush regime’s heroic attempt to resuscitate itself
Terri Schiavo probably didn’t notice, but once again the courts have stepped in to try to stop someone from being kicked around like a football by the two other branches of our federal government.
Early this morning, Judge James Whittemore of the 11th Circuit’s Florida Middle District rejected the Bush regime’s orchestrated attempt to force-feed both Schiavo and the American public.
Whittemore joins the ranks of judges who have stepped in to try to halt the Bush regime. Yes, the right wing will point out that he was a Clinton appointee. But Utah federal judge Paul Cassell was appointed by Bush himself, and during a Congressional hearing on another person in a vegetative state (Alberto Gonzales), Vermont senator Pat Leahy pointed out that Cassell described a mandatory sentence (the kind of thing the Bush regime insists upon) as “unjust, cruel, and irrational.”
It’s not only judges like Cassell and Great Britain’s Law Lords who are stepping up. There’s Judge Gerald Tjoflat, down in Georgia, who wrote in a case involving protesters at the School of the Americas:
Not to mention other federal judges in the Hamdi and Padilla cases. Lots of judges have stepped up, as Anthony Lewis notes in the latest New York Review of Books. Riffing off a new tome on the Pentagon Papers crisis of ’71, Lewis writes:
That leaves the third branch, the courts. In the context of the “war on terrorism,” would they decide a case like the Pentagon Papers the same way today? No one can be sure. But lately there have been signs that judges are unwilling to be cowed by the claims, made since September 11, of unreviewable presidential power. The Supreme Court ruled last year that citizens held without trial as “enemy combatants” must have an opportunity to answer official suspicions, and held that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay may file petitions in federal courts for release on habeas corpus.
Lewis points to yet another judge who stepped up:
Meanwhile, the spirit continues to move the Bush regime and its allies on the Christian right. In the Schiavo circus, the 11th Circuit judge, Whittemore, has folded the religious right’s revival tent. But while Bush and Tom DeLay figure out how to continue their crusade, check out my colleague Jim Ridgeway‘s shrewd analysis. And go back and read the blogger Digby‘s Sunday sermon pointing out the hypocrisy of Bush’s having signed the Texas Futile Care Law back when he was just a governor, not an emperor.
Digby’s rant (thanks to the Daily Kos for publicizing it) is worth repeating—despite the continued “liberal blog” references. It’s just plain good perspective, so here’s more:
Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terri Schiavo’s care thus far.
Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo’s because they will not be able to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.
And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.
Those who don’t read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is “stepping in to save Terri Schiavo” mimicking the unctuous words of Tom DeLay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.