Judge Orders Schiavo Feeding Tube Removed
The presiding judge in the case of Terri Schiavo ruled Friday that the feeding tube keeping the brain-damaged woman alive must be removed, despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block the move by seeking her appearance at hearings. Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer refused a request from U.S. House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. EST. Greer determined that it should go forward about an hour after another judge issued a temporary delay blocking the tube’s removal. “I have had no cogent reason why the (congressional) committee should intervene,” Greer told attorneys in a conference call, adding that last-minute action by Congress does not invalidate years of court rulings.
The judge’s order came during a telephone conference call in which an attorney for Michael Schiavo — Terri’s husband, who wants to remove the tube — participated from the hospice where Terri Schiavo is under care. Earlier in the day, Republican leaders in Congress issued subpoenas for Schiavo to appear before a hearing, thus requiring the hospice to keep her alive.
Greer refused a request from the House Government Reform Committee to temporarily delay the tube removal while an appeal of his order is lodged. “The fact that you — your committee — decided to do something today doesn’t create an emergency,” Greer told an attorney for the House committee.
While I maintain that Congress is acting unlawfully, not to mention stupidly, here, Greer’s explanation is rather odd. Presumably, the fact that a subpoenaed witness is about to die creates some sense of emergency in that her death would preclude her testimony. Of course, given that she’s medically incapable of testifying and will forevermore be thus is something of an obstacle as well.
Kevin Drum terms the congressional action “nauseating” and asks, “What are they going to do? Wheel her into a committee room under the klieg lights so the whole country can gape in wonderment at a comatose woman? Why not just set up a circus freak show on Capitol Hill and be done with it?” Rep. Henry Waxman agrees, saying, “Congress is turning the Schiavo family’s personal tragedy into a national political farce.” Strange bedfellows or no, I’m in agreement here.