There’s a good reason congressional Republicans will not hold investigative hearings on the judicial homicide of Terri Schiavo.
Republican judges killed her, just as surely as the Democrat judges did.
This is the dirty little secret that would be uncovered if Republican lawmakers scratched beneath the surface of how and why the 11th Circuit ignored the will of the people and the U.S. Congress and the president of the United States in refusing a full review of her case as decided by Republican county Judge George Greer.
While much attention has been placed on the fact that U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, a Bill Clinton appointee, twice violated the will of Congress in refusing the review, less attention has been focused on the fact that every single Republican appointee on the 11th Circuit supported his decision.
The only dissenter was Charles R. Wilson, a Bill Clinton appointee.
All six judges nominated by President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush, including William Pryor – who was recess-appointed just last year to avoid a Democratic filibuster – voted not to save Terri’s life.
This fact was brought to my attention by Denver radio talk-show host Bob Enyart, who is urging those who care about life in this country to reconsider their strategy of electing Republican politicians to appoint them.
It’s an idea worth considering.
But it is also critical to understand there will be no accountability for judges of either party who ignore the law.
Let’s recall why President Bush was in such a hurry to appoint Pryor in the first place.
He had done the president’s dirty work in removing Judge Roy Moore from his lawful seat as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court over the Ten Commandments monument.
It was Pryor who upheld U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s order to remove the monument or remove Moore from his elected office. In what can only be viewed as a reward – a quid pro quo – Pryor, unlike many other far more qualified Bush nominees to the federal bench, was promoted to the 11th Circuit.
There, he joined five other Republican colleagues who denied Terri Schiavo her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I don’t know what the answer is, but it is clear the solution to getting better judges is not simply voting Republican.
In fact, as the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates, the fact that all six Republican-appointed judges on the 11th Circuit flouted the law and the will of the people in this case and the fact that the Republicans in the U.S. Congress fear to hold them accountable, it is perhaps less likely that we will solve this problem by just voting Republican.
I’m certainly not suggesting Democrats will solve it. Surely, they will only make it worse. What I am suggesting is that we have a completely unaccountable judiciary in this country. The judges have become the lawmakers. It really doesn’t seem to make much difference who appoints them.
Let’s suppose Democrats appoint bad judges 99 percent of the time. And let’s suppose Republicans appoint bad judges 75 percent of the time. Can we really clean up the judiciary by electing people who are going to appoint bad judges most of the time?
I don’t think so.
I don’t pretend to have the answers.
But I think I have a firm grasp of the problem.
When was the last time anyone fixed a problem without recognizing its true nature?
As usual, the people are going to have to lead. Don’t leave it to the politicians to fix the mess. They won’t do it.