A Will, a Woman, and Her Feeding Tube.

Okay, there’s no will. There’s now no feeding tube, and so there will soon be no woman.

There’s no will. NO will.

A relative of ours wanted to give us some property. He made his wishes known verbally to everybody. He hired a surveyor to survey the land to make sure of the boundaries of the piece he wanted us to have. He told his lawyer that this is what he was going to do. He died very suddenly. He had written a new will. Do you think that if he had died without a will leaving that property to us, the court would have listened to all of us saying this is what his wishes were and given us that property? No. It would not, and that is as it should be.

People can say all sorts of things and even mean them at the time. However, if we wish certain statements to be understood as having authority when we can no longer speak for ourselves, the law expects us to take the time and make the effort to put them in writing.

As an article at The AMerican Spectator points out, we dispose of property with more care than is being given Terri Schiavo.


“As “mildly pro-right-to-die” blogger Ace of Spades noted, “You need a written contract for any lease of land that lasts more than one year; it seems very odd to me indeed that the taking of a human life requires only one hearsay statement from one interested party.”

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

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Good Essay to Read

Thomas Sowell is one of our favorite authors around the Common Room.

Check out Cruel and Unusual:

“If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily “the right to die” can become the right to kill. It is hard to believe that anyone, regardless of their position on euthanasia, would have chosen the agony of starvation and dehydration as the way to end someone’s life.

A New York Times headline on March 20th tried to assure us: “Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death” but you can find experts to say anything. In a December 2, 2002 story in the same New York Times, people starving in India were reported as dying, “often clutching pained stomachs.”

Read the rest- as always.

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After having spent the last hour trying in vain to incorporate all of my favorite books into a profile box that only permits 600 characters, I have erased all of them in a fit of temper, and the “Favorite Books” section will be left blank.

My next post will be all about my favorite books and why I like them. In a post, I will room for everyhing.

*retires offline, grumbling*

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The majority of the great sayings of life evolve over a period of many years, modified and improved by individual people over time.

In other cases, such as the case that occurred on Sunday, the evolutionary process is accelerated and the phrase “Never criticize a woman till you’ve walked a mile in her knee highs” is born by a family of nine in about two minutes.

It’s a long story.

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Motion Denied

Judge Whittemore, who has previously fined and sentenced to probation men who merely cut down a tree with a Bald Eagle nest in it, didn’t see Terri as valuable as those birds. He has ruled against her parents (and Terri). Terri’s parents are appealing, again.

From the Corner, via Blogs for Terri:

O. Carter Snead, who is general counsel for the Council on Bioethics and has previously written about the Schiavo case e-mails (Note: His comments are his own and don’t reflect the views of the council, which has varying views on varying things:
The state of Florida, through its judiciary, has ordered the termination of Terri Schiavo’s life. This is an interest clearly protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, before Florida can order such action, it must accord Schiavo with the full measure of process that is due to her. Unfortunately, a review of the record shows that such process was never provided.

The courts in Florida were charged, first and foremost, with discerning what T. Schiavo would have chosen under the present circumstances (“substituted judgment”). Florida law provides a complex system of procedural safeguards for this determination, including a “clear and convincing” evidence standard (the highest in all of civil law), and a presumption that the now-incapacitated patient would choose to live, in exercising her constitutional right to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment. Moreover, Florida law requires that a guardian be appointed in circumstances such as these to represent the interests of the patient…

…The procedural irregularities that tainted the handling of Ms. Schiavo’s case include…:

The court’s failure to appoint a guardian ad litem (following 1998);
The court’s usurpation of the guardian’s role (in direct violation of Florida law);
The court’s reliance upon insufficient evidence regarding T. Schiavo’s wishes (namely, the recollection of her husband that T. Schiavo’s had made ambiguous, casual remarks about “not wanting to be a burden” many years prior, in a wholly unrelated context);
The court’s refusal to consider probative evidence of T. Schiavo’s wishes (namely, witness testimony that Mr. Schiavo was lying and that he had never, in fact, discussed end-of-life care with T. Schiavo); and
On remand, the court’s shifting of the burden to the Schindlers to demonstrate that T. Schiavo would have wanted treatment under the present circumstances (inverting the logic of the Florida laws).

These irregularities make it impossible to conclude that T. Schiavo’s wishes under the present circumstances were proven by “clear and convincing” evidence, particularly in light of the presumption (under Florida law) that she would have chosen to receive life sustaining treatment. Any claim, therefore, that re-insertion of the tube is contrary to Terri’s wishes (and thus an encroachment upon her right to refuse treatment) is groundless. We simply do not yet know what her wishes would have been.

The recently passed S.686 gives the Middle District of Florida jurisdiction to hear a suit or claim by or on behalf of T. Schiavo “for alleged violation of any right of T.M. Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the US relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.” It gives third parties the standing to bring such claims. And, most importantly for present purposes, it empowers the federal court to determine, DE NOVO, “any claim of a violation of any right of T. Schiavo within the scope of this Act, NOTWITHSTANDNG ANY PRIOR STATE COURT DETERMINATION AND REGARDLESS FO WHETHER SUCH A CLAIM HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN RAISED, CONSIDERED, OR DECIDED IN STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS.”

Thus, its seems highly improper for the federal court to determine on the basis of a two hour hearing that the Schindler family would not likely be successful on the merits in an entirely new trial, complete with extensive discovery, etc.

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