A bad precedent

Congress should not have interfered in Terri Schaivo case.
We don't know whether Terri Schiavo really opposed having her life artificially extended if she was ever reduced to life in a "permanent vegetative state."

We don't know what motives her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, has for fighting the move to reinsert the feeding tube that has sustained his wife for 15 years. Physicians removed the tube Friday after a Florida court again deemed Schiavo to have no hope of recovery.

We don't know whether Terri Schiavo's open eyes and occasional expressions represent more than the primitive actions of her brain stem.

We don't know whether she feels, thinks or is aware of her own existence. But we have no reason to doubt the medical experts who say she is brain dead or the lower courts that have ruled against her parents' quest to prolong her life.

We do know that Congress and President Bush overstepped their bounds when they enacted a law giving the federal court system the authority to review and reverse, on alleged constitutional grounds, a decision that rightly belongs to state courts.

Members of Congress, contrary to the advice of medical experts involved in the case, say they acted to save Terri Schiavo. (Rep. Charlie Bass voted with the majority; Rep. Jeb Bradley did not vote.) In fact, their action could mean Schiavo will be condemned, against her wishes to years of additional suffering.

What Congress really did was to mock state courts and shamelessly play politics with Schiavo's life and family.
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