ACLU of Florida Criticizes Congress's Attempt to Subvert Court Rulings in Schiavo Case

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
March 18, 2005 12:00 am

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Statement of Howard L. Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida

MIAMI, FL — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida believes that Congressional leaders, including Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom Delay and Tom Davis, Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Reform, acted inappropriately by attempting to interfere in the legal proceedings involving Terri Schiavo by the issuance of a Congressional subpoena.

The issuance of a subpoena is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the decisions of the courts — both state and federal — over seven years of litigation that has involved numerous appeals in the state and federal system. All have resulted in court orders directing that Terri Schiavo’s wishes be observed and that she not be sustained on artificial life support.

The American public should reject the efforts of politicians attempting to use the machinery of government to override what courts — by “clear and convincing evidence” — have found to be the wishes of an individual.

If Congress can intervene in the Schiavo case, it can intervene in any case with which those in control of Congress disagree with the intensely personal judgment of a family to end extraordinary life sustaining measures for a family member who is in the end stages of a terminal illness or who has suffered a catastrophic accident with no hope of recovery.

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