Friday, March 25, 2005

Runaway Judiciary and Terri Schiavo

Regardless of whether you believe Congress was correct in attempting to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case the fact remains that they did intervene and in doing so gave very specific directions to the courts on how to proceed with her case. As Rich Galen points out today, the legislation passed by the Congress required Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube to be reinserted and a new trial be set to determine all of the facts surrounding her case. In spite of these very clear directions, the courts continue to flagrantly disregard the wishes of Congress.

One of the lasting impacts of this case will be the effect that it has on the judiciary. Certainly this case will help President Bush and Republican Senators make the case that activist judges are dangerous and should be kept off the bench. Judges are supposed to not just interpret the law but enforce it as well. Federal judges are subject to the authority of Congress. In fact, if Congress wanted to they could begin impeachment hearings against the federal judges that have failed to follow the mandate given by Congress. It will be interesting to see whether the House decides to proceed with impeachment hearings once this case has concluded. But judges everywhere should be on notice that they are still accountable to a higher authority even though they often behave as if they are not accountable to anyone.

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