Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo. Regardless of how well the system is designed, it very often comes back to the individuals in it. In this case, the key player was Judge Greer, who saw as "clear and convincing" the testimony of Michael Schiavo that Terri would not have wanted to live under the circumstances in which we find her. Judge Greer believed Michael Schiavo. Of all the judges who had the opportunity to consider this case, only Judge Greer was in a position to assess Schiavo's credibility. No one else in the system was in that position or otherwise empowered to do so. So Judge Greer's ultimate finding of fact, that Terri would not have wanted to live that way and that she would have refused nutrition and hydration, was substantially beyond review. The system accords such dignity to such fact finding.

It is important to note that among all of the judges who looked at this case, from Judge Greer up the state system to the Florida Supreme Court, from the federal district judge up to the justices on the US Supreme Court, only Judge Greer is elected in the way that most politicians are elected. All of the other judges are protected from the will of the majority either in significant part (the state appellate and supreme court judges) or absolutely (the federal judges).

I don't like the result, but the system still works. If the people of Pinellas County, the county in which Terri chose to live, don't like what Judge Greer did, then they can vote him out.

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