"Activist Judges": the bane of every neo-con Republican politician's existence. Bush has railed against them since he started running for President, and the Republicans have made the phrase one of their constant refrains--part of their politics-by-Chinese-water-torture tactics. But where are those judges when you need them? The recent Federal appellate ruling refusing to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube has the Bushies in a tizzy, talking about a "culture of life" and wringing their hands over their failure to successfully interfere in a state matter. (As my friend Barry points out Bush wasn't too disturbed about executing hundreds of people in Texas when all around the country others were finding innocent people on death row.)
So who are these damned "passivist" judges, and why won't they act?
Wilson and Hull were appointed to the appeals court by President Clinton (news - web sites), while Carnes was appointed by former President Bush (news - web sites).
Damn! Can't blame this one on the liberals, the two judges ruling that the tube should not be reinserted are a Bush I appointee and a Clinton appointee, and the guy wanting to stick the tube back in was a Clinton guy!
My own take on the matter is that the poor woman should be allow to die. I don't say that lightly, either. My father died the almost the same way: Alzheimer's stole his ability to interact with the world, and at the end he stopped eating. We did not put him on a feeding tube and waited with him for a week as he, too, died of dehydration. It's not a great way to go, but far better than living on as nothing more than a shell that used to hold a loved one.
But this piece is about process. The Shiavo case is over. It has been properly adjudicated and consistently decided in favor of what were apparently Ms. Shiavo's wishes. Her parents are understandably distraught, but that's the hard part about being a judge. By all accounts, the courts did an admirable job looking at this matter from every conceivable angle.
But that's not good enough for the Republicans who passed those bills in Congress. Neither are the polls showing most Americans agree this is a private matter. They have a need to impose their view of the world on others. We've seen it in the way the war in Iraq was planned and conducted, and we're seeing it here. Whether it is a true belief that God tells them what is right and wrong in every case or just their own sense of superiority, they cannot accept not getting their way, and they cannot let this poor woman die in peace.
When it is time to vote again, remember who is really in favor of the government staying out of our lives, and who is only really in favor of the government enforcing what they personally see as right and wrong. The real "activists" aren't all sitting on the federal bench.