Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., contends action should be taken against two judges who ignored congressional orders in the Terri Schiavo case.
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
Referring to U.S. District Judge James Whittemore’s decision last week to reject a request for emergency intervention, Santorum said, “For this judge in this district to ignore that is tantamount, I believe, to an offense that should be discussed in the Congress.”
Santorum was speaking with the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity in an interview last night at the Wooside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., where Terri Schiavo is now in the 13th day without nutrition and hydration since her feeding tube was removed by court order March 18.
The senator led an effort in Congress that resulted in a bill, signed by President Bush, intended to trigger a federal court review and a quick restoration of the feeding tube.
“What we asked for in the Congress was a new finding of fact,” Santorum said. “And this judge in this district ignored it, snubbed his nose at Congress, I think against the law. I think he should be held accountable for it.”
Santorum also criticized Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer, without naming him, for ignoring subpoenas for Terri Schiavo and others issued by the U.S. House Government Reform Committee in its announced investigation into the case. A subpoenaed witness automatically is granted federal protection.
The Senate Health Committee also requested Terri and her husband Michael Schiavo appear at an official committee hearing March 28.
Whittemore ruled that Terri Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, had not established a “substantial likelihood of success” at trial on the merits of their arguments, contending Terri Schiavo’s “life and liberty interests” had been protected by Florida courts.
In the “Hannity & Colmes” show interview, Santorum said he has talked to Congress members about an inquiry into the judges’ actions.
“I mean we cannot continue to expect that the laws that we pass and the intentions are clear, that are just simply ignored by the judges and have their nose, basically thumb their noses at us,” the Pennsylvania senator said. “And here is a situation where the intent of Congress was clear.”
Santorum said Congress returned for an emergency session to discuss the Schiavo case “for one reason, so the feeding tube could be reconnected and a trial, a new trial with new evidence could be presented. For this judge in this district to ignore that is tantamount, I believe, to an offense that should be discussed in the Congress.”
In a statement issued after he signed the bill, President Bush said, “In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life.”
The emergency House vote of 203-58 came at 12:30 a.m. March 21 following a voice vote in the U.S. Senate. House Democrats stalled the vote forcing lawmakers into an emergency late-night session.
Republican supporters said the “Palm Sunday Compromise” would protect the constitutional rights of a disabled person, and denied suggestions that they viewed the case as an opportunity to shore up support among religious conservatives ahead of next year’s elections.
But Rep. Jim Davis, D-Fla., said the congressional action was “a clear threat to our democracy.” Congress, he said, was ignoring the constitutional separation of power and “is on the verge of telling states, courts, judges and juries that their opinions, deliberations and decisions do not matter.”
Santorum pointed out Congress has a right to establish the jurisdiction of the federal courts, according to the Constitution, and the bill instructed a judge to look at the case and hold a fresh trial.
“That’s what the court was required to do under the clear intent of the statute,” he said. “There’s no way that — and he did somehow divine that Congress didn’t mean for us to reconnect the feeding tube because of a colloquy on the floor of the Senate. That makes no sense, in light of the fact that we came into emergency session to do just that.
Asked if Congress can tell a judge what to do, Santorum replied: “We didn’t tell him what to do. We told him that he should have jurisdiction and he did not do what we asked him to do.”
For background on the 15-year saga, read “The whole Terri Schiavo story.”
Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002 – far longer than most other national news organization – and exposing the many troubling, scandalous, and possibly criminal, aspects of the case that to this day rarely surface in news reports. Read WorldNetDaily’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of the life-and-death fight over Terri Schiavo, including over 150 original stories and columns.
Court documents and other information are posted on the Schindler family website.
Links to all “Terri briefs” regarding the governor’s defense of Terri’s Law are on the Florida Supreme Court website, public information.