March 22, 2005

"Judge Whittemore at times sighed, paused and buried his face in his hands."

Here's the NYT account of yesterday's hearing in the Terri Schiavo case:
Judge Whittemore frequently interjected questions, pressing Mr. Gibbs about his claim that Judge Greer had violated Ms. Schiavo's due process rights that and that he had not given her a fair trial. He pointed out that Judge Greer had held a "lengthy" trial and had appointed several independent "guardians ad litem" to represent Ms. Schiavo's interests, and that her parents had represented her interests, as they saw them, by fighting the tube removal.

Judge Whittemore asked Mr. Gibbs to cite case law that would bolster the claim that Ms. Schiavo's Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process had been violated, adding, "because we haven't found any." Without proof that the state court's handling of the case violated precedent, Judge Whittemore said, "I think you would be hard pressed to convince me that you have substantial likelihood" of succeeding on the merits of the case.

And here is the report of the judge's refusal to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube. As one could predict from reading the report of the hearing, the judge's denial was based on the failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits.
"This court appreciates the gravity of the consequences of denying injunctive relief," Judge Whittemore said in a 13-page ruling. But he said Ms. Schiavo's "life and liberty interests" had been adequately protected by Florida state courts, and despite "these difficult and time strained circumstances" the court was constrained "to apply the law to the issue before it."

Thanks to Judge Whittemore for handling this terribly burdensome case with skill and dignity.

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