A good friend of mine is a lawyer specializing in Constitutional Law. While he thinks that the whole Schiavo Affair has been a travesty and that it was wrong for Congress to get involved in the way it did, he maintains that it had the Constitutional Right to do so because of Congresses enumerated power in Article 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution.
"In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."
He is also furious with the judges in Tampa and Atlanta. He says that because they did not initiate de novo proceedings (in his opinion) on the merits of the case but rather deferred to the earlier findings of the state court, they are in breach of Federal law based on section 2 of the Schiavo Law requiring the Federal Courts to consider the case de novo :
"Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act. The suit may be brought against any other person who was a party to State court proceedings relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo, or who may act pursuant to a State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted."
So the question I ask all of you - is my friend right in his analysis? His fear is that what has happened in this particular case has blinded many of us to a much larger danger, the judiciary ignoring Congressional law. I guess the case comes down to whether or not Schiavo Law is Constitutional. If it is, then all of the judges, in my friend's opinion, are in contempt of Congress and should be impeached, irregardless of whether or not we agree with the results of their actions. For him, it is the case-neutral precedent he sees being made that is the bigger problem, and one that could bite progressives in the ass in the future.