If folks will forgive me, I will ramble a bit on the Terri Schiavo case.
First of all, kudos to Ralph Nader for being on the right side of this one. His most cogent point is this: there is no law in the world that can allow a court to order that a person not be fed by hand. Even if a feeding tube is deemed to be “life support” (and, may I remind everyone that in the landmark case of Karen Ann Quinlan, after the family won the right to remove her from the respirator, she lived nine more years – i.e. it never occurred to anyone to remove her feeding tube), giving food and water by hand certainly is not. There is no power in the Constitution or elsewhere to allow a person to be denied food and water by hand.
Sadly, I don’t think that it ever occurred to the attorneys to make a separate filing to a federal judge to ask for permission to feed by hand since the state judge’s injunction is illegal on its face. If indeed she cannot take nourishment in this way, then she will die, but if she can, she will be saved.
Does any State have the right to execute a serial killer with a hundred dismembered victims by denying him food and water? Of course not. It would be cruel and inhuman punishment. (This point was made by attorney Jack Thompson in his memo to Governor Bush).
I have no strength to continue. This is a horror to me, and I feel betrayed by every concept and institution that I took to be a bulwark and a buttress.