FOR WHOM DOES TERRI SCHIAVO'S BELL TOLL?
Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
Perhaps I am confused. Perhaps I need counseling. But I do not understand why the intervention of the courts of the General Government, or of any court (other than the court of conscience) was necessary to save Terri Schiavo.
Apparently, some evidence suggested that she may have been the victim of abuse, and that perhaps abuse was responsible for the original trauma that eventually led to her present condition. (Other evidence suggested that she may have suffered further abuse while hospitalized, too.) If abuse was the original cause of her predicament, then apparently Terri Schiavo was the only witness to this wrongdoing, other than the perpetrator.
If abuse did take place, one may speculate as to who the perpetrator might have been. But if--and, of course, I speak here only hypothetically--Michael Schiavo was responsible, then his later unflagging attempts to bring about Terri Schiavo's death could be deemed no less than murder, undertaken to cover up his earlier criminal behavior. Of course, one cannot know for certain that any crime has been committed by anyone, until the evidence has been thoroughly sifted by experienced investigators. What one does not do when one has serious suspicions--but before one knows for certain whether or not a crime has been perpetrated--is kill a key witness who might reveal what happened (Terri Schiavo) and destroy the best physical evidence (her body)--and especially kill that witness and destroy that evidence at the behest of a possible suspect.
The village idiots in what Justice Antonin Scalia calls "the law profession culture" have argued that attempts to prolong Terri Schiavo's life violated her "right to die", which had been adjudicated by the courts. This claim might have plausibility if anyone knew with moral certainty that she had expressed a wish to die by assisted suicide. But, apparently, the only purported evidence of her supposed desire to be put to death by the cruel (but increasingly less unusual) punishment of dehydration and starvation was the utterly uncorroborated hearsay testimony of Michael Schiavo, who, if he were guilty of abuse (and subsequently of attempted murder), would doubtlessly have said anything to dispose of the evidence against him.
In any event, even if Terri Schiavo had once upon a time expressed to Michael Schiavo a general desire not to be kept alive after suffering brain damage, she could not possibly have intended that wish to apply were she the victim of a crime at Michael Schiavo's hands, were her body the only evidence of that crime, and especially were Michael Schiavo trying to kill her and destroy her body in order to escape detection and punishment.
Obviously, too, Michael Schiavo's desire (as her purported "guardian") that Terri Schiavo be put to death should have had no weight, were he a suspect. Indeed, his insistent demands for her death should have been taken as powerful evidence of his guilt.
Similarly, Florida Judge Greer's order that Terri Schiavo be killed should have had no legal effect where it interfered with an on-going investigation of serious crimes. On what possible theory of rational criminal jurisprudence can a judge order the death of the prime witness and destruction of the key evidence? This would have been particularly true if careful scrutiny of Greer's actions in this case had shown a pattern of judicial misbehavior consistent with an intention to deny Terri Schiavo her right to life, or a wilful blindness to or reckless disregard of that right--arguably making him a co-conspirator with Michael Schiavo.
Again, all these are hypothetical circumstances. But hypotheses of this seriousness deserve to be tested, before someone is killed, and her death renders testing impossible. The Governor of Florida surely had the authority to order that Terri Schiavo be taken into protective custody, properly cared for, and thoroughly examined by the best forensic analysts to determine if any criminal acts had been perpetrated against her. Surely, Florida has some program or provision for protection of victims of serious crimes--and Terri Schiavo was, at least hypothetically, a victim. Just as surely, Florida has some program or provision for protection of witnesses of serious crimes--and Terri Schiavo was, at least hypothetically, a witness. So, why did Florida's Governor Jeb Bush falter and turn tail? Did he forget the telephone numbers of his own Attorney General, the commander of the Florida State Police, and the commander of the Florida National Guard?
Similarly, if the evidence showed that what happened to Terri Schiavo constituted a criminal violation of her civil rights (under Title 18, United States Code, Section 241 and 242), President George Bush could also have asserted authority to place her in protective custody, pending further investigation. So, why did he do nothing?
One must find it remarkable that, with an Attorney General sufficiently nimble of legal foot to tip-toe through constitutional minefields to the conclusion that the President has some inherent authority to torture alleged suspects of "terrorism", the Justice Department proved unable to parse the evidence in the Schiavo case and conclude that probable cause existed for an extensive civil-rights inquiry that might have saved an innocent life. One must wonder what could constitute worse "terrorism" against the people of the United States than a judicial system so thoroughly Nazified that it co-operates in the murder of the helpless at the behest of the guilty. And one must also marvel that President Bush--who willingly grasped the nettle of war without a declaration from Congress, and sent tens of thousands of Americans overseas to kill and be killed, to maim and be maimed--should have proven so loathe to assert the Executive Power of the United States in order to preserve the life of Terri Schiavo (and the countless other defenseless human beings who will be killed by torture, with her death as the legal precedent). Can it be that he believed that an Executive Branch which under President Clinton could dispatch armed men to seize little Elian Gonzales in order to deport him to the hell-hole of Castro's Cuba lacks the power to dispatch armed men to safeguard Terri Schiavo from suffering an excruciating form of execution that (as far as I know) neither Hitler nor Stalin ever specifically ordered?
In addition, if President Bush feared that he lacked sufficient authority to intervene in the internal affairs of a State, why did he not ask Congress to grant him the necessary power, through a statute passed pursuant to Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States? Section 1 of that Amendment provides that "[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". And Section 5 provides that "[t]he Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article". So, if Congress had determined that the State of Florida--through her Judiciary's active connivance in the execution of Terri Schiavo, and the apparent inability of her Legislature and Executive to do anything about the matter--was denying Terri Schiavo the right to life, it could have empowered President Bush to take all necessary and proper action to remove her from that State's jurisdiction permanently, and place her in the custody of her parents in some other State. (To the expectable complaint of the village idiots in "the law profession culture" that such a statute would have violated "the separation of powers", because it would have overturned, or at least nullified and disregarded, a State judicial decision, the complete constitutional answer is that "the separation of powers" principle applies, if at all in a case such as Terri Schiavo's, only to relations between Congress and the Judiciary of the General Government, and creates no barrier against Congressional legislation aimed at correcting violations of the Constitution by any branch or department of State government. Sections 1 and 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment contain no exceptions for violations of any American's constitutional privileges, immunities, or rights by State judges.) So why did not Congress request, or decide on its own, to enact such legislation? Was Congress paralyzed by the basilisks' stares of the black-robed tyrants on Florida's Bench?
Of course, an explanation of these events is available other than that both of the Bush Brothers, and majorities in both Houses of Congress, are cringing poltroons afraid to face down Judge Greer and the rest of the Imperial Judiciary. This alternative, however, is far darker than political cowardice--but, paradoxically, in the darkness of human affairs there is often much light.
The Establishment wants "the right to die" institutionalized in this country, so that it will become accepted, and eventually be enthusiastically embraced, by all Americans. Not the least of the Establishment's reasons is that expeditious disposal of the old, the permanently disabled, the mentally deficient, and especially the excessive consumers of scarce medical services may be necessary to "save" Social Security, Medicare, and the whole fascist-socialist apparatus of the welfare state--which will collapse in bankruptcy unless costs incurred for these useless eaters are drastically cut, and soon. Which may mean unless useless eaters in large numbers are drastically cut, and soon. With the collapse of the welfare state goes one of the main pillars supporting the Establishment's power. Therefore, many people--and probably very many people--will have to disappear.
The best way to impose such a fundamentally Nazi program on Americans is to disguise it as somehow an eminently lawful example of "individual freedom" in action. And the best way to do that is through the courts, not only for the purely propagandistic reason that judges can claim to be "protecting individual rights" and enforcing "the rule of law", but also for the practical political reasons that the Establishment firmly controls the judiciary through America's thoroughly corrupted "law profession culture", and that the Establishment's judges are perfectly willing and able to base their execrable decisions on contemporary "authorities" that "point[ ] in an opposite direction" from "the history of Western civilization and * * * Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards". See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 571-73 (2003) (Anthony Kennedy, J., for the Court).
Of course, "the right to die" (or, as it was applied in Terri Schiavo's case, "the duty to die" at the demand of someone else) must be introduced by indirection--deliberately, but slowly--to prevent the frogs from realizing that they are being boiled. So, the government does not itself impose "the right to die". No. In the spirit of "public service", it merely recognizes "the right to die" as an "individual right" and permits it to be exercised. "The right to die" is a matter of personal "privacy", an aspect of "choice", a "fundamental right". The courts are simply facilitating the compassionate "choices" of the killers and those whom they intend to kill in "privacy". Moreover, no one else has any cause, let alone legal right, to interfere, because that would violate "the rule of law" (which is whatever some judges say it is).
Obviously, this strategy works because, no matter what Florida's Legislature, Congress, and the Bush Brothers did (except, of course, for taking Terri Schiavo into custody, which they apparently had no intention of doing), the powers that be keep pushing the matter back across the legal river Styx into the dark underworld of the courts, which keep ruling for her death.
Is it, therefore, merely the product of political paranoia to wonder whether the whole business was nothing more than a Punch and Judy Show staged to give the appearance that politicians are "battling" over the issue, when in fact--and as intended by everyone behind the scenes--their defeat at the hands of "the law profession culture" was the very point of the exercise?
The brutal fact seems to be--in Terri Schiavo's case in Florida, as in Hugh Finn's in Virginia in 1998, and in who can predict how many more tragedies to come--that families, friends, honest public officials, and people of good will have found themselves legally impotent to stop the killing. No accident here, though. This is the necessary first step for the Establishment to make "the right to die" an integral part of the new American way of life. For with impotence comes resignation--with resignation, apathy--with apathy, acceptance--with acceptance, agreement--with agreement, active participation--and with active participation, vilification, then persecution, of dissenters, because no messenger can be allowed to bring bad news to a people for whom the moronic Smiley Face has become the true national symbol.
To be sure, those who invoke the courts in order to kill their parents, wives, children, and other relatives will suffer some guilt--conscience, after all, can never be completely suppressed. But Americans are being conditioned to believe that feeling pangs of guilt is neurotic, and that the still, small voice of conscience echoing in an individual's own heart is to be heeded less than the loud mouth of authority in such a creature as Judge Greer. Everyone, the Smiley Face tells Americans, is at heart a good person--even if he or she has killed a wife or a husband, a parent, or a child, or plans to do so, or as a judge, legislator, or policeman enables someone else to do so.
Rather than blame themselves, these people will seek to validate their "choices" by becoming vocal supporters, not only of "the right to die", but also of a government powerful (as well as lawless and immoral) enough to give them this right, and of politicians sufficiently criminal to administer such a government. Which, of course, can only strengthen the Establishment's position across the board.
Thus, step by step, death by death, the "right to die" is being imposed on America as a whole as surely as it has been on Terri Schiavo as an individual. Her bell tolls for you and your family.
a nice day.
© 2005 Edwin Vieira, Jr.
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Edwin Vieira, Jr., holds four degrees from Harvard: A.B. (Harvard College), A.M. and Ph.D. (Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and J.D. (Harvard Law School).
For more than thirty years he has practiced law, with emphasis on constitutional issues. In the Supreme Court of the United States he successfully argued or briefed the cases leading to the landmark decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, and Communications Workers of America v. Beck, which established constitutional and statutory limitations on the uses to which labor unions, in both the private and the public sectors, may apply fees extracted from nonunion workers as a condition of their employment.
He has written numerous monographs and articles in scholarly journals, and lectured throughout the county. His most recent work on money and banking is the two-volume Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution (2002), the most comprehensive study in existence of American monetary law and history viewed from a constitutional perspective. www.piecesofeight.us
He is also the co-author (under a nom de plume) of the political novel CRA$HMAKER: A Federal Affaire (2000), a not-so-fictional story of an engineered crash of the Federal Reserve System, and the political upheaval it causes. www.crashmaker.com
His latest book is: "How To Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary"
He can be reached at:
Obviously, too, Michael Schiavo's desire (as her purported "guardian") that Terri Schiavo be put to death would have no weight, were he a suspect. Indeed, his insistent demands for her death would have to be taken as powerful evidence of his guilt.