Statement Re: Attacks on the Judiciary in the Terri Schiavo Case
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2005 — The tragic circumstances of the Terri Schiavo case have elicited strong feelings from all quarters. While this is completely understandable, many commentators and observers have crossed the line in using this tragedy to needlessly, gratuitously and viciously attack the dedicated men and women who serve as America’s judges. This needs to stop.
Regardless of how one feels about the specific circumstances of this situation, the role of the judiciary in it is clear and straightforward. The federal and state judges who have been assigned this case have been charged with weighing the facts of the case and the remedies set forth in the law, responsibilities they have carried out valiantly and with great dignity and sensitivity to the anguish that all of the participants in this case have endured.
While it is appropriate for commentators, policymakers and the broader public to debate the societal challenges and dilemmas brought to light by Terri Schiavo’s case, there is no need for personal attacks on the judges in this case. They are not killers as some have called them, nor are they activists bent on pushing an ideological agenda. They are simply dedicated public servants called on to serve as impartial arbiters in a very difficult case. Instead of maligning them for applying existing law to the case at hand, even though it may not reflect the current will of Congress, we should praise them for dispensing even-handed justice and upholding the independence of the judiciary even under the most difficult circumstances. These judges deserve our respect, not our scorn.