They both took action to save Terri's life. I do not fault them. I place the blame firmly where it belongs. On Judge Greer's and Michael Schiavo's shoulders.
I opine that the civil court system is ill suited for a life/death decision, and that there are systemic issues in the judicial bvenue. I also opine that state legislatures have promulgated model language for living wills that is apt to cause "critical confusion" on the part of the signer. Critical confusion is where the paper means the opposite of what the signer thinks it does. I also opine that federal medicare/medicade law encourages hospice abuse.
As for this specific case, the courts, while uananimous, did contain at least two (dissenting) judges who held that the court system was NOT adhering to Congress's wishes. My cursory analysis agrees with them. The majority (and prevailing) rationales of the Federal District and Federal Circuit courts were bootstrapped or circular in refusing to review the facts in eveindence against the Florida law that defines "clear and convincing."
The Florida appellate courts "asked the wrong question" in order to come up with the answer it wanted. I watched the Florida courts in the election fiasco of 2000, and I think the FLorida courts similarly cherry-picked Florida statute, and also composed the question regarding Terri's wish (to be dehydrated to death) in a way that can not be shown to represent Terri's thought or rationalization process.
I agree that Greer blew it, and that started things. Michael's action is unfortunatly not all that uncommon. See spousal abuse and outright murder.
In the final analysis, the difficult question that faced the trial court was whether Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo, not after a few weeks in a coma, but after ten years in a persistent vegetative state that has robbed her of most of her cerebrum and all but the most instinctive of neurological functions, with no hope of a medical cure but with sufficient money and strength of body to live indefinitely, would choose to continue the constant nursing care and the supporting tubes in hopes that a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue, or whether she would wish to permit a natural death process to take its course and for her family members and loved ones to be free to continue their lives. After due consideration, we conclude that the trial judge had clear and convincing evidence to answer this question as he did.
http://www.miami.edu/ethics2/schiavo/1-24-01_DCA%20Opinion.pdf <-- 780 So 2d 176
(Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2001)
http://www.2dca.org/opinion/June%2006,%202003/2D02-5394.pdf <-- 2003 Opinion
In my opinion, that question misrepresents several points. First, that it is necessary to have ANY hope for recovery in order to have will to live. The court cynically imposes the expectation of not merely some recovery, but "a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue." But even then, many people with NO hope of ANY recovery would choose to live.
Second, that the death being sought by the petitioner (Michael) is a natural death in the sense that most people take it. The court had to parse statutory language to reach a conclusion that a starvation and dehydration death is a natural death process.
Third, that Terri would conclude, either prosepctively or contemporaneously, that her death would be better for her family members. No reasonable person would conclude that Terri's blood family wanted Terri to live. Would Terri not consider this in making her own decsion? Some people who want to die, choose to live based on pleading from loved ones. See suicide intervention.
In Westinghouse Elect. Corp., Inc. v. Bay County Energy Systems, Inc., 590 So. 2d 986, 988 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), the court stated: Clear and convincing evidence requires that the evidence must be found to be credible; the facts to which the witnesses testify must be distinctly remembered; the testimony must be precise and explicit and the witnesses must be lacking in confusion as to the facts in issue. The evidence must be of such weight that it produces in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction, without hesitancy, as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established [Cboldt comment: and therefore also the falsity or inaccuracy of contrary testimony or evidence]. Although this standard of proof may be met where the evidence is in conflict, In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So. 2d 258, 273 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989), approved, 568 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 1990), it seems to preclude evidence that is ambiguous. Cited in an article relating to a completely different matter <--An review of the evidence can obviously create a clear and convincing impression on the minds of some, that Terri's past words are an express desire to have her life terminated under the circumstances she was in. A significant number of FR posters agree with Greer's finding of fact.
I don't believe one can objectively reach that conclusion to the standard of clear and convincing. One problem in the legal system is that once a finding of fact is reached, the burden shifts to the other side, and the burden of proof is at least as high to reverse as it was to find in the first place.
They both took SOME action. But neither one was willing to take the NECESSARY action. Both of them wanted the permission of judges to save Terri's life. When that permission was not forthcoming, both of them caved in. Both of them deny that they had the authority, as EXECUTIVES, to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. That is the lie that both of them are persisting in.