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The consequences of the Terri Schiavo case

(Note: this will be my first, last, and only posting on the Terri Schiavo story.)

First, everyone -- and I mean everyone -- ought to go here and download a living will, as I have, and get it filled out and filed as soon as possible.

Secondly, I think it is critical to note that every single thing that happened in the Schiavo case happened within the letter of the law.

By law, people can refuse medical treatment such as she was receiving.
By law, they can do that directly, or through a prepared document.
By law, when a person is incompetent to make such decisions on their own behalf, and has not made prior arrangements, that power passes to their next of kin.
By law, a spouse is considered "next of kin."
By law, in the absence of a spouse, that power passes to any adult children.
By law, in their absence, the power then -- and only then -- passes to the parents.
By law, Michael Schiavo was Terri Schiavo's spouse right up until her death.
By law, Michael Schiavo had the right to order the discontinuance of her feeding tube and any other medical care.
And by law, her parents had absolutely no legal standing in that matter.

If you are appalled by the way the law worked in this case, and are convinced that the law was wrong, then you have every moral obligation to change that law. The people who make the law -- the legislatures of the several states -- are, in theory, accountable to the people through elections. Get your legislators to change the law.

But exactly what laws do you want changed, and how? If you think the Schiavos (correction: Schindlers -- thanks, Puppet) should have been given custody of Terri, you need to change the very nature of marriage itself. You need to grant parents the right to initiate a divorce proceeding against the explicit wishes of one party and without the cooperation of the other -- do you really want that to be possible? And do you really want to weaken the bonds of marriage that tie two people together?

It's a truism in legal circles that tough cases lead to bad laws. And this is one of the toughest. Those who are calling for wholesale shakeups of some of the most fundamental components of our society today aren't thinking things through enough. It's one of the reasons why laws passed in regards to a single person or situation are such a bad idea.

In the end, the Terri Schiavo case might end up causing far more violence to the institution of marriage than that feared by the religious right when they were horrified at the thought of thousands of gays racing up the aisle.

And I can't imagine anyone would want that to be their legacy.

J.

(And no, I am STILL not taking sides on the matter. I'm simply analyzing the potential consequences of some of the proposed actions of one side.)

(Update: 5/2/05, 3:30 p.m. -- I'm closing comments on this thread. It's degenerated into petty personal bickering, and that's EXACTLY what I was trying to avoid.)


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Comments (60)

Good Points. In my opinion... (Below threshold)
chad:

Good Points. In my opinion this case is one of those aberrations that stretch the limits of the legal system and push the boundaries of the law. The people who are now calling for judges to be arrested and Michael Schiavo to be prosecuted for murder should probably consider the issues for another couple weeks, after the case is not on the news every night. It is worh pointing out that the laws that made this possible have served fairly well for a number of years. In the case of Michael being Terri's guardian it is actually based in the book of Genesis. (I forget the exact quote but basically it directs a man and wife to become one flesh and is the basis for our modern marriage laws). In conclusion lets take some tome for some quiet contemplation then think about what if anything needs to be changed.

"But exactly what laws do y... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"But exactly what laws do you want changed, and how?"

Two things that would make me feel more comfortable about this case.

#1 In cases like this where there is a dispute between family members as to the wishes of the incapacitated person, I would like to see an attorney appointed by the court to represent that person throughout the court proccess. This is something Terri didn't receive. Her attorney was michael's attorney, and whether anyone wants to admit it or not Michael did have some conflicts of interest (he stood to ineherit 700,000 dollars and he had a live in girlfriend he already announced his intention to marry when Terri was dead). The money can also be viewed as a conflict for her parents as well.

#2 A part of me would like to see cases like this decided either with a higher standard of law (reasonable doubt rather than clear and convincing evidence) or maybe by a jury rather than one single judge. Don't know for certain about this one though.

I do agree that in this case the charge of activist judges doesn't apply. The judges in this situation acted within the law, although I am not convinced that Greer's decisions were alway the right ones, even if they were within the law (the issue of the GAL, and there not being a permanent one in place, and appointed himself as her legal representative bothers me).

I am also very bothered by Michael's having a girlfriend/fiance when he decided to pull the tube-I don't know that I neccessarily want guardianship removed, but I know that if I was in Terri's place, I wouldn't want my husband making those decisions any longer, since having a girlfriend he wants to marry, and a disabled wife in a medical center turns into an automatic conflict of interest for him. Just not sure if we want the law to automatically remove decision making rights, but I think it can certainly be used along with other facts to determine who gets to make these decisions.

I have to say that what Michael is doing right now, confirms that while he may not be the monster the Schindlers have painted him, he certainly is a vindictive asshole.

What a bunch of hooey, Jay.... (Below threshold)
julie:

What a bunch of hooey, Jay.

By law, when a person is incompetent to make such decisions on their own behalf, and has not made prior arrangements, that power passes to their next of kin. By law, a spouse is considered "next of kin."

By law, solely because one is next of kin does not grant one the absolute right to be appointed guardian.

By law, Michael Schiavo was Terri Schiavo's spouse right up until her death.

One, he had a conflict of interest, two, they were defacto separated.

By law, Michael Schiavo had the right to order the discontinuance of her feeding tube and any other medical care.

No, he didn't. It was an abuse of discretion to not remove him as guardian.

And by law, her parents had absolutely no legal standing in that matter.

Yes they did. It was an abuse of discretion not to grant them guardianship.

The people who make the law -- the legislatures of the several states -- are, in theory, accountable to the people through elections. Get your legislators to change the law.

She was denied fundamental due process. That is what the courts, especially the federal courts are suppose to guarantee. They fucked up.

But exactly what laws do you want changed, and how?

Glad you asked:
1. When contested must be in writing and it must be an informed consent. Ha;f ass coments while watching "Love Story" don't count.
2. M. Schiavo shd have been relieved of guardianship. However, if the laws on the books, public and legal policy, had been applied correctly, they would not have to be changed. Obviously, too much wiggle room, so tighten them up.
3. Make easier to grant trial de novo.
4. Increase the burden of proof. Clear convincing is too low.
5. She shd have been granted her own atty throughout the entire proceedings.
6. Others, but I will have to think about it.

If you think the Schiavos should have been given custody of Terri, you need to change the very nature of marriage itself.

Why?

You need to grant parents the right to initiate a divorce proceeding . . .

I do, why?

And do you really want to weaken the bonds of marriage that tie two people together?

He's shacked up with another woman who has born him two children. That already makes for a pretty damn weakening of the bonds of marriage.

It's a truism in legal circles that tough cases lead to bad laws. And this is one of the toughest. Those who are calling for wholesale shakeups of some of the most fundamental components of our society today aren't thinking things through enough. It's one of the reasons why laws passed in regards to a single person or situation are such a bad idea.

Oh, yeah? How about not denying the most basic and fundamental rights of due process to the disabled or others who can not speak for themselves? That's a pretty fucking fundamental component of our society.

You think huge shakeups don't happen? The USSC has made sweeping changes this past year as to a criminal defendant's rights. One of those sweeping changes is that defendants now have the right to a jury finding beyond a reasonable doubt any fact used to increase a sentence. This is huge. Previously, only a judge using the clear and convincing evidence standard determined any facts. Not anymore.

It's a due process violation to deny a criminal defendant that right, yet, you would deny that right to an innocent woman who is getting the ultimate sentence.

(And no, I am STILL not taking sides on the matter. I'm simply analyzing the potential consequences of some of the proposed actions of one side.)

Now your just insulting our intelligence.

Since an attorney is an adv... (Below threshold)

Since an attorney is an advocate for their client and is bound to carry out the wishes of the client it is inappropriate to appoint an attorney to someone who is incapable of expressing those wishes. Terry did have a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem but they have little power under the law because in order to be an advocate for someone you have to actually know what it is they want, all the GAL could really do and all an attorney could do is work to make sure that the concerns of all interested parties were properly addressed, which happened as far as I can tell by reading the report of the GAL to governor Bush.

But if you want a law like this, go for it. I can’t wait to see the courts start to appoint an attorney to every woman who gets pregnant to make sure that the rights of their unborn child are properly addressed, that will be really entertaining.

Also if you really want to give “shaking up” legal standing under the law, go for it and congratulations, you have just codified in law civil unions, unless you want to explicitly exclude same sex partners from being getting legal standing under the law by said shacking.

No, there will be some really bad laws being proposed over what was essentially a family dispute.

By law, when a person is... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

By law, when a person is incompetent to make such decisions on their own behalf, and has not made prior arrangements, that power passes to their next of kin.
By law, a spouse is considered "next of kin."

You should read this week's Time magazine. They had extensive coverage of this issue and included a map showing the laws in various states. In some states, if there is no clear directive, the law says that a group of "interested persons" or the spouse and parents together make the call.

http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101050404/schiavo_webguide.html

But exactly what laws do... (Below threshold)
CrowScape:

But exactly what laws do you want changed, and how? If you think the Schiavos should have been given custody of Terri, you need to change the very nature of marriage itself.

Hmm... so "marriage" is having children with a mistress while your wife is hospitalized? No, this is a great argument for adultery laws, not "changing the very nature of marriage itself."

By law, if Michael Schiavo ... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

By law, if Michael Schiavo did to his dog what he did to his wife, he would go to jail.

I wish I had written this, ... (Below threshold)
Clash City Rocker:

I wish I had written this, but someone beat me to it...

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who fell into a well.

I want those crackpot strangers to spread vicious lies about my wife.

I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather for weeks on end, so they can bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

I want all those people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want members of Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his medical training by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.

Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."

I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, a man who has never made a mistake or allowed his judgment to be sullied by personal or political concerns, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.

Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]

Jay--You shine a w... (Below threshold)

Jay--

You shine a wonderful spotlight of the failings of the judiciary in this case. I've said before, any fool can read the law. The constitutional responsibility of the judicial branch is to interpret the law. In this case, the letter of the law was followed, but there was a distinct lack of any vision for the spirit of the law. The law establishing that hierarchy of control through the spouse, then adult children, and only then to the parents was never intended to be inclusive of an obviously alienated and estranged spouse.

Exacerbating my aggrivation with the judiciary is the fact that they have never hesitated to claim their right to interpretation when creating law, whether on abortion or homosexual marriage, but when an opportunity arose for them to exercise constructive powers of interpretation, they balked.

If the SCUS can rule that laws assigning the death penalty don't apply to minors, they could have just as easily ruled that the guardianship laws don't apply to a spouse who has forsaken his incapacitated wife for another woman.

If anything weakens the bonds of marriage in this case, Jay, it's the fact that adultery and spousal murder were given a green light by the courts.

I could be on Michaels side... (Below threshold)
Kabuzz52:

I could be on Michaels side up and until he started living with his new "wife" in 1995 and then had two children by her. To me, at that point, I do not believe he had Terri's best interests at heart. Also, can you imagine the conversations with his future wife where she would probably say often "you told me we would be married by now. Can't you do anything?

Hmmm.At issue is t... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

At issue is the "clear and convincing" standard. A standard that I don't believe Judge Greer met with his dismissal of witnesses for the parents.

Frankly all of the other issues stem largely from that one.

Posted by: Mac Lorry... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Posted by: Mac Lorry

Only a few changes are needed to prevent such a case in the future. Florida is one of only a few states that doesn't require a written document (living will) for medical treatment to be withheld from someone unable to express their will. All that needs to be done is for all States to require living wills in order to pull the plug on someone.

One more change that would be helpful is a law that allows any close relative of an incapacitated person to initiate divorce proceedings when the spouse has in effect remarried. The details need to be worked out, but having children with someone other than your incapacitated spouse would certainly be grounds for such action.

Under the current situation, I agree with Jay that the law was followed. Many will disagree with the particular rulings, but the laws that were in effect at the time were followed as intended.

When there are disputes within a family, who decides the resolution? If it's the courts, on what basis should they make their decision? If it's the law, who should make laws? If it's elected representatives, who should elect them? If it's the people, who's to blame for outcomes -- is it not our very form of government? When foreign powers have threatened our form of government, this nation has sent thousands upon thousands of young men to die on the battlefield to preserve our form of government. Let us not be too quick to damage what was purchased with the blood of hundreds of thousands of lives for the sake of one life; as precious as that life was to those who loved Terri.

Rick I have read Wolfson's ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Rick I have read Wolfson's report, although his position was dissolved, when the law creating it was declared unconsitutional.

What I read in the report is what convinced me that Terri deserved to have somebody advocating for her interests-that attorney may have found Michael's and his siblings statements believable, and interpreted that to mean she wanted to die, but if the attorney disagreed with them, then he wouldn't be Michael's attorney either. The problem here is that the attorney Terri's money was paying for was chosen by Michael and acted more as Michael's attorney than Terri's in all this.

Michael had conflicting interests, and the actual GAL appointed by the court for the fact finding part of the trial recommended against removal of the tube, believing that the evidence didn't amount to clear and convincing evidence.

Wolfson recommended that Terri have a full time GAL appointed to represent her (his recomendation became moot of course, just as his report did).

Dava A- That doesn't... (Below threshold)
Curtis:

Dava A-
That doesn't make sense. If a dog was in the same condition as Terri, he would have put the dog to sleep. It would have been more humane if he were allowed to put Terri to sleep rather than withholding food from her. But for some silly reason thats not allowed.

BY LAW - in 50 out of 50 st... (Below threshold)
reliapundit:

BY LAW - in 50 out of 50 states - a married person who takes up residence with (cohabits) and has children with another person has legally abandomed their spouse.

BY LAW - in 50 out of 50 states - the state of abandoment is grounds for divorce.

THEREFORE:

(1) BY LAW Michael abandoned Terri.

Coindicentally this LEGAL ABANDONMENT occured after he received the setllement,

and coindicentally this is when he FIRST ASSERTED (7 years after Terri's "incident") that Terri would not want to be kept alive.

The only LAW which needs to be changed is that people who ABANDON their spouses SHALL forefiet legal guardianship.

LOOK AT IT THIS WAY:

would you want your life int he handfs of an EX-wife or ex-husband?

I think not.

I think you wouldn;t want a relative of yours to have their life in the hands of an EX either.

Judge Greer could have removed Michale as legal guardian.

He should have been removed as legal guardian by Greer - this is a point made by renown JONATHAN TURLEY.

Instead, Greer left Michael as guardian - and once substituted himself, in direct violation of Florida LAW.

Several of your commenters ... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Several of your commenters have substantiated the truth of the truism you cite, Jay: tough cases really do lead to bad laws.

Writing laws isn't nearly as simple as some folks think. One has to spend much more time considering the unintended consequences than the intended purpose of the law.

Curtis-You're right;... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

Curtis-
You're right; it doesn't make sense. Why should the law afford more protection against cruelty to animals than to humans?
J's point (in part) was that this was all done by the book.
My point was/is: just because something is "by law", that doesn't mean it's right.

I can't believe people thin... (Below threshold)
John:

I can't believe people think this is an issue as to whether the spouse or the parents have 'next of kin' privileges.

The aspects that makes this an issue is whether or not she was euthanized or not. And whether or not that was the right thing to do or not.

As an almost seperate issue, what evidence is required to ensure those are your wishes. The question is whether a spouse or any 'next of kin' can always be trusted to make those decisions. I say this in light of the rate of domestic abuse & murder that takes place in this country.

I realize so many people ar... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I realize so many people are simply tired of discussing this issue. But I find it really important. Reading others' thoughtful opinions on this matter has helped refine the debate. I guess the thing that bothers me the most - and I am not unique in this regard - is the so called reference to Terri's wishes by her husband Michael. I accept that he went to extraordinary measures initially in his efforts to facilitate his wife's recovery. If reports are accurate, he kept up hope when doctors told him there was no hope. Then things suddenly changed to the point where, if the information is to be believed, he didn't even want his wife to have antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection. I mean, antibiotic administration in that context is hardly heroic therapy. It's not like UTIs are uncommon in hospitals with all the prodding and poking going on. It just seems to me that when he was able and ready to accept moving on (a new lover and even a family), Terri's personal wishes suddenly became important. Like, OK your going no where honey, I've done my best but I'm tired of all this plus I've got better things to do now so maybe you were right in the first place and I shouldn't have eeven gone this far. So good by, I'm outta here. I am also one who believes that the timing and manner in this change in behavior, monetary benefits or not, made him a suspect advocate for his wife.
I also agree with BoDiddly that the courts failed. I have read so many letters to the editor in my local paper about Congress and the President threatening the checks and balances system of our government by their attempts to intervene in this affair. For some reason, people seem very comfortable giving that branch of government with the least direct electoral mandate the most power. In addition to judicial impeachment another check on the judiciary is the constitutional right of Congress to rewrite or introduce new legislation that they feel would pass judicial review. I think the legislation that Congress expedited and the president signed was not heavy handed at all and well within constitutional guidelines. It wasn't like Bush tried to push through one of those executive directives or sent in the National Guard or a militia.
Lastly, from a political standpoint, the editorial in today's WSJ by Taranto describes the perspective some disabled individuals have on this so called circus.

Reliapundit -Inter... (Below threshold)

Reliapundit -

Interesting. Your facts are actually arguments made to support a suit for divorce. The responding party can claim "condonantion," and then it becomes an issue for judicial determination. Have you handled many divorce cases?

The abuses of discretion po... (Below threshold)

The abuses of discretion pointed out by Julie are, I think, what allowed this miscarriage of justice to play out the way it did and come to its shameful end.

In part, this is due to the problem of Judicial Tyranny which we can put a stop to. The action of many of the major players in this story might also be explained by some Suspicious Dealings in Pinellas.

Also, Michael Schiavo failed to comply with mandatory reporting requirements by state law, which should have disqualified him as guardian of Terri or at least launched an investigation.

Curtis,I am not sure... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Curtis,
I am not sure whether this helps but in most States, despite laws on the books for animal welfare (and I mean welfare not rights) the animal is considered personal property much like a car. So therefore, the owner is always the agent for the pet in decisions for its care. Obviously we have a caring enough society to accord animals a high level of humane treatment under the law. With people in our own society we give primacy to the individualacting as an agent for his/her own life's decisions. That is why I see a valid argument in this case over who best represents the individuals true interests and dignity. Maybe this statement is not relevant to your argument.

Here! Here!You're ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Here! Here!

You're right on the money J.

'nuff said.

I've said it before and I'l... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Jay Tea, you rock.

I hope you will be at the New England blogger bash if there's one this summer.

"The only LAW which needs t... (Below threshold)

"The only LAW which needs to be changed is that people who ABANDON their spouses SHALL forefiet legal guardianship."

I think for the most part the law worked in this case, but I have a real problem with a husband who has moved in with a second woman and had two children with her still legally acting as a husband to the first woman. This is a case of generally good laws that did not work in a hard case.

Reliapundit: In ad... (Below threshold)
Allan Yackey:

Reliapundit:

In addition to the issue of “condonation” as a defense to a divorce action in a “fault” jurisdiction, generally “non fault” jurisdictions don’t allow evidence of infidelity as a basis for divorce.
In Indiana you don’t need a reason for a divorce beyond the fact that you want one. Indiana takes yet another further step and says that marital infidelity is not a basis for departing from a presumed 50-50 split of marital assets. Personal moral conduct is largely irrelevant in a divorce case in this state other than how it might affect child custody or visitation (now called “Parenting Time”).
A post script: Some states have laws the come from the common law tradition and some from the civil law tradition. Every state has a somewhat different history and geography. As a result, it is almost never the case that all 50 agree on anything.

It's the parents who should... (Below threshold)
Sheryl L. San Jose, CA:

It's the parents who should be shot for their cruelty. Terri had rights and it was proven in a court of law (over, and over, and over, and over) that she did not want to live like that. The parents NEVER refuted that. It's amazing how the "moral" right talk about the sanctity of marriage when it suits their issue du jour (i.e. the rights of gay people to marry) but when it doesn't suit them, suddenly they want those rights refused and overturned. The law says as a part of marriage you agree to give guardianship to your spouse. The sick and twisted right wing do-gooders would like to add the caveat: "unless we don't like your spouse".

And by the way, if any of the "right-to-lifers" spent time with people who are dying, they would find that it is very natural for people to stop eating and drinking before they die.

Even if Michael Schiavo stood to get a million dollars if Terri passed, which he doesn't, why would anyone continue such a fight for 15 years??? It's not worth it. You'd make that money earning $66K/year. Not a real high paying job and hardly worth the stress. Doesn't make sense.

Since an attorney is an ... (Below threshold)
julie:

Since an attorney is an advocate for their client and is bound to carry out the wishes of the client it is inappropriate to appoint an attorney to someone who is incapable of expressing those wishes.

One, an attorney can do more than a GAL. Two, someone doesn't have to know what you want in order to protect your rights by ensuring all legal procedures are followed correctly. And by protect your rights, I mean the rights of the patient, not all interested parties. Facts could show what the patient wanted was not advocated by either side, in this case, - Schiavo or Schindler. And, the judge isn't there to advocate for the patient. And if it is unclear what the patient wanted, then it is the duty for the atty to argue that.

[snip dire, unrealistic consequence - woe is you]

Also if you really want to give “shaking up” legal standing under the law, go for it

I'm not advocating shaking up anything. What I am advocating is because it might shake things up is no excuse for denying fundamental rights of due process. Personally, I don't think it's much of a shaker.

and congratulations, you have just codified in law civil unions, unless you want to explicitly exclude same sex partners from being getting legal standing under the law by said shacking.

Codified in law?? Huh, where? Oh, brother! Any other red herrings you want to inject into this thread? Sorry, I don't buy the EP argument.

No, there will be some really bad laws being proposed over what was essentially a family dispute.

There are already bad laws on the books. And for so long beating the shit out your wife and having sex with your daughter were treated as “essentially a family dispute.”

you said:"But exactl... (Below threshold)
puppets:

you said:
"But exactly what laws do you want changed, and how? If you think the Schiavos should have been given custody of Terri..."

I think you meant the Schindlers, her parents.

LYSANDER et al:can... (Below threshold)

LYSANDER et al:

can anyone name a state in which abandonment is NOT grounds for divorce.

according to JONATHAN TURLEY it is in EVERY state, and he argued that this was why Greer should have REVOKED guardianship from Michael Schiavo.

Julie spewed:By... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Julie spewed:

By law, solely because one is next of kin does not grant one the absolute right to be appointed guardian.

The first on many rants within your post that are untrue, or you just choose to rant about the judge.

Not one of your responses had any basis in law. Instead you ranted because you think the judge abused his discretion. Notice the key word, your opinion only. Since your opinion had no value in this case, it is worthless!

The fact remains that Michael was the husband, and guardian appointed by the court, which was not challenged by the Schindlers, of Terri, FACT! Deal with it.

Your other rants, within your post, are just to numerous to deal with now. But each and every one can be refuted by fact and evidence. You choose instead to substitute your opinion for fact and evidence. It has no value in this case so it is useless.

But they are amusing rants. I can imagine you toiling over your keyboard with a furrowed brow, thinking of your superiority and how much you know, and how you are going to prove us all wrong with the power of your words. But, it's useless because you are ranting, you resort to insult when someone challenges you. You have hardly ever come back with a clear, coherent argument to counter someone.

In the end you appear immature and foolish.

Release the Trolls!

One big flaw in the law tha... (Below threshold)
thynam:

One big flaw in the law that needs to be changed. Surprised that it is not included in your list

By law, a husband that has moved on to live with another woman and even having kids still have the legal right to determined of an incapacipated "ex-"wife. This should be enough in any divorce case. Why not in this case?

This is clearly an unjust and non commonsenstical law to be changed!

This was and always will be... (Below threshold)
Clash City Rocker:

This was and always will be a family issue, people feeling slighted or wronged...

If not for the loonies out there no one beyond Tampa would know about this story, a story that is told everyday in a thousand hospitals in a thousand cities throughout America.

I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who fell into a well.

The loonies will find another cause that the right can get behind and exploit it for all its worth until it runs out of gas, just like the professional mourners outside the hospice, they'll be onto the next right to life story that they feel they can exploit. Watch a movie called "Citizen Ruth" very funny and very informative.

However, the actuality of t... (Below threshold)

However, the actuality of the case was that Greer ORDERED that Terri be executed.

This as unlawful.

Here is a challenge and disscussion of that fact.

DaveB:I addressed ... (Below threshold)
julie:

DaveB:

I addressed jay's points, something you have not. Are you trying to sell us that if a next of kin has a clear conflict of interest they can still be appointed or remain as GAL?

Not one of your responses had any basis in law.

Actually, they do. Because you don't have the ability to recognize it is your problem.

Instead you ranted because you think the judge abused his discretion. Notice the key word, your opinion only. Since your opinion had no value in this case, it is worthless!

I addressed the issues Jay brought up and I framed them in a legal way. Sorry, it itimidates you so much. As to whether my opinion had no value, that's your opinion. And, applying your own standards: Your opinion is worthless.

The fact remains that Michael was the husband, and guardian appointed by the court, which was not challenged by the Schindlers, of Terri, FACT! Deal with it.

Schiavo had a clear conflict of interest and shd not have been allowed to remain GAL. FACT! Deal with it. The Schindlers tried to have him removed as GAL. FACT! Deal with it. Regardless of what the Schindlers wanted, if a conflict of interested existed, he should have been removed as GAL. FACT! Deal with it.

Your other rants, within your post, are just to numerous to deal with now. But each and every one can be refuted by fact and evidence. You choose instead to substitute your opinion for fact and evidence. It has no value in this case so it is useless.

My opinion is based on fact and legal principles. It certainly has more value than yours. Obviously, you think no one's opinion shd be voiced, including jay tea's and yours.

[snip DaveB demonstrating his ass is still sore from the repeated ass kickings he has received.]

Poor, Dave, hurt your feelings, did I?

ps: someone who signs off Release the Trolls! shouldn't be calling others immature and foolish! lol!

Very well said Jay.<p... (Below threshold)

Very well said Jay.

Now to something that is mentioned time and time again in the comments. So what her husband was with another and has children? Does that imply his feelings for Terri stopped?? He was her husband, and loved her. You paint him out to be some uncaring monster.

My husband and I have been separated for over five years now. And he is STILL the best person to make those kind of decisions for me. I would choose him to decide over my parents or siblings. Us not being together does not change that.

Do you think this was easy for him? Because it wasn't. This was his wife laying there. For 15 years. I think him staying married all these years shows just how much he really did love Terri, and wanted HER wishes followed. He could have walked away so many times, but he CHOOSE to be there. He wanted HER wishes to happen.

I feel for the parents, but they really need to come to grips that their daughter died 15 years ago. A body is merely a shell. Without a mind, you are nothing.

julie ... sounds as tho you... (Below threshold)

julie ... sounds as tho you are the one who needs to deal with it. Sorry. But it's true.

I think perhaps this case p... (Below threshold)

I think perhaps this case proves, most of all, that it's impossible to write the perfect law, and that's what we need the court system.

By law, Michael was the absolute arbiter of Terri's fate. The law made no allowances for any potential conflict of interest nor did it account for the medical limbo of Terri's condition.

None of the words with wich we're accustomed seemed to work in this case. Artificial Life support? Well, we thought we knew what it meant. Not, maybe not so much. Heroic measures? I can't remember the last time someone got a medal for giving a hungry man a Big Mac.

The laws we have in place just aren't built to handle a case like this and I honestly dont' believe they ever will be. You can't write a law that will account for all eventualities.

You need a court to do that. You need a judge to sit down and look at every piece of evidence on which he can get his hands to make an informed decision. Then you need a judge farther up the line who can and will do the same, just to make sure that the first judge didn't make any factual errors.

As noted previously, well s... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

As noted previously, well said, Jay Tea.

I have a thought and I wonder what you think. Is merely creating the Living Will enough anymore? Could it not matter that where that parchment is filed/stored make a difference? What if one's spouse had a copy but didn't tell anyone about it? I know the witnesses to the original document might intervene but that would not be a certainty. Further, assuming the odd chance that witnesses step into the potential fray of family business, the spouse could complicate the matter and say that their incapacitated loved one meant to change the Living Will. Given the potential time delay required to make such decisions, a spouse (and we'll assume selfish intent since so many view that as a risk) might just ignore the Living Will or say it didn't exist.

I'm wondering if we are opening up a can of worms that requires the filing of one's Living Will (or other such end-of-life documentation) with a third party as well. Without considering the extended unintended consequences, this third party could be family, doctor, or even some government agency. I won't comment on the merits of whether or not this is a good thing except to say that merely creating the document may not be enough to escape the inevitable odd case that gets picked up by some interested party and turned into Terri Schiavo II.

The fact remains that Mi... (Below threshold)
MMM:

The fact remains that Michael was the husband, and guardian appointed by the court, which was not challenged by the Schindlers, of Terri, FACT! Deal with it. - DavidB

Initially, but in FACT....

1993 Sept: The Schindlers petition the court to remove Michael as Terri's guardian. Penick dismisses Feb 1994.

2002 Jan 25 - Anderson petitiones the court for an evidentiary guardianship hearing. Greer cancels hearing Jan 29.

2002 Nov 15, 2002, Anderson files petition with Judge Greer to remove Michael Schiavo as Terri’s legal guardian, citing a dozen or more specific Florida Statute violatons by Michael while serving in his capacity as Terri’s legal guardian.

2003 Nov 4: Anderson files petition with Judge Greer to remove Michael Schiavo as Terri’s legal guardian. Dremers refuses to reinstate independent guardian Jan9,2004

2005 Jan 10: Schindlers again petition court to remove Michael Schiavo guardianship. Greer denies on Feb 11.

2005: Mar 31: Terri is murderd.

Hey, Angie, don't project y... (Below threshold)
julie:

Hey, Angie, don't project your issues on to me. The purest intentions will not negate a conflict of interest under the law. It's not one of these deals where the court finds no harm/no foul. You may have maintained a friendship with your husband. However, that is rare among estranged couples. Why would your situation be the rule of thumb for the rest of the world? While you can ascribe Schiavo staying married to her out of love, it's just as easy to ascribe his motive as one of control.

And again, don't pretend your issues are my issues, so you deal with it. Sorry, but it's true.

A note to the contrary.... (Below threshold)

A note to the contrary.

The Schiavo debacle undermines living wills.

She had none yet she was starved to death. Living wills are exxentially permission slips to withhold certain treatments. Here the treatment was withheld despite the absense of a living will. So those writing out living wills have to wonder if any procedure that they do not deny explicitly will be denied anyway.

BTW, this case smells of sm... (Below threshold)

BTW, this case smells of small town corruption.

Here we have Greer accepting campaign contributions from Felos, allowing Schiavo to pay Felos from the earmarked trust, Felos being on the board of directors of the hospice where Terri was moved to (a hospice for terminal patients) along with Rice, who himself hired Schiavo when Rice was sheriff and later as state senator blocked a bill designed to frustrate the efforts to kill Terri.

In the midst of this Greer ORDERS a quick execution of Terri while there are lucrative offers floating about for Schiavo to relinquish custody–a move that Greer and Felos make very difficult.

At the same time, Greer refuses to recuse himself. The list of improprieties goes on.

They all should be investigated. Greer in particular has demonstrated corrupt behavior and should be impeached.

And another thing, the "rig... (Below threshold)

And another thing, the "right" for Schiavo to kill Terri by removing the feeding tube only was written into Florida Law at the prompting of Felos long after Terri was incapacitated.

It is not a "right" as the author of this post asserts. It is supposed to only occur when there is "clear and convincing" evidence that this was Terri's wishes.

Julie's rants continue .... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Julie's rants continue . . .

I addressed the issues Jay brought up and I framed them in a legal way.

But . . .

Jay said,
By law, Michael Schiavo had the right to order the discontinuance of her feeding tube and any other medical care.

Fact

Then Julie ranted,
No, he didn't. It was an abuse of discretion to not remove him as guardian.

Opinion

To many more to go over, but you get the picture, right?

Also, just for your addled brain, the court found there was a clear conflict on interest for both parties, but that doesn't fit neatly into your little scenario, does it?

Oh, but wait, one of the things the appeals courts look at are abuses of discretion. Oops!

Initmidated by you? {laughs} Amused, yes, intimidated, hardly.

Keep ranting though, it provides great comic relief here at the office . . .

That troll remark must have stung too . . .

MMM

Now carefully go look up the definition of murder, check it out in a regular dictionary if you like. Read it slowly so the big words don't frighten you. Better yet, check a law dictionary. You may notice, if you take the blinders off that THIS WAS NOT A MURDER.

Oops, was I shouting?

And by the way, if any o... (Below threshold)
TnTexas:

And by the way, if any of the "right-to-lifers" spent time with people who are dying, they would find that it is very natural for people to stop eating and drinking before they die.

One problem with your illustration. Terri wasn't dying before her feeding tube was pulled.

I've had enough of this...f... (Below threshold)
Scott H:

I've had enough of this...from both sides.

The author Shelby Foote was asked why the Civil War occurred. His answer was that we Americans lost our great ability to compromise, to find common ground around the issue of slavery. I am seriously afraid that we are doing so again. And the reaction and so-called debate over the Schiavo case is just one more example.

What especially troubles me is that the argument over slavery was an argument over belief, not over economic or political logic. And the trouble with arguing belief is that neither side can ever persuade the other to change their mind. Because to abandon one's core belief is to abandon one's own sense of self. This is not easily done.

And this inability to compromise beliefs is, in my opinion, the cause of humanity's historical and on-going record of bloody religious war.

So I truly fear for this nation. Governance by passionate beliefs, whipped into a feeding frenzy by media, politicians and the howling mobs is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. This nation is begining to resemble 1790s France more than 1790 America.

So when you start flinging terms like murder and killer and evil around think about what you are saying. When you start arguing for the overthrow of Constitutional government with mob rule, think about what you are advocating.

I know, I know. Your just arguing words, not actions. While you may try and excuse yourself by claiming to be passionate about your position, I guarantee there are those who are all too willing to put action behind your hyperbole. What will it take to make us realize this?

I want to close with this...Easter just passed. For those who know the story, it wasn't Pilate who asked for Christ's blood...it was the crowd.

And when He was crucified He said..."Forgive them for they know not what they do."

After 2000 years can we still claim to be innocent of the hatred and violence our words can incite? Would He still forgive us?

By law, Michael Schiavo ... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

By law, Michael Schiavo was Terri Schiavo's spouse right up until her death.

Jay,

I am not sure that this is necessarily true. If Mr. Schiavo had taken up residence with another woman and had children with her while Ms. Shiavo was still conscious then they would have been considered legally separated. At that point, depending on the state, he would no longer have default guardianship and surviorship rights.

Certainly, by a finding of fact by the presiding judge, Mr. Shiavo was the legal guardian of Ms. Shiavo, but I truly believe that the judge should have revisited the guardianship issue once evidence had been presented to him that Mr. Shiavo was living with and raising a family with another woman.

Scott,Then you wil... (Below threshold)

Scott,

Then you will like this post: Occam's Razor.

It is dispassionate, simple, and explains why all citizens of the US need be concerned in a succint two sentence argument.

Paul-I do apprecia... (Below threshold)
Scott H:

Paul-

I do appreciate Occam's Razor, thanks for the link. In fact I've added it to my blog list so I can enjoy it in greater depth.

What I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on is my contention, or fear, that we are locked into a downward spiral of arguing about core beliefs that neither side can abandon. And it's this inability to compromise on these beliefs that increase the risk of civil and political breakdown...of which ad hominum attack is just the tip of the iceberg.

Again I want to state I feel this inability coming from both Right and Left. Neither can compromise its belief, because to do so would mean abandoning itself. We already see that each side seems to be drifting into a self-referential world, a world that feeds and draws from the groups core beliefs.

What is being lost, in my opinion, is our commonality...the idea that this nation trancends either groups' beliefs...that being American truly does require us to hold ourselves to a standard of behaviour that allows E Pluribus Unum to emerge.

145 years ago my family in Virginia thought of themselves as Virginians first, Americans seconds. And when Stonewall called, they responded. They were wrong.

No amount of Southern aplogia or pride can change the fact that being American means that you pledge yourself to something greater than your locality, something greater than your own interests and beliefs. You pledge yourself to Republic and the Constitution that frames it. To the extent any of us places something else in front of the Constitution we lessen ourselves as Americans.

And I'm afraid we're heading towards a point of no return.

The guardian most assuredly... (Below threshold)

The guardian most assuredly DOES NOT have, by law, the authority to withhold food or water given by mouth. The odious Judge Greer, who couldn't bother himself actually to visit Mrs. Schiavo himself, decreed that such feedings were "experimental" and might result in choking, and therefore forbade them. That the rest of the courts in this matter allowed this judicial execution to take place indicates only that we have a big job ahead of us in reining in some lifetime-sinecured totalitarian monsters.

Imagine being her parents and being forcibly restrained from giving her even droplets of water to ease her suffering. We have a very, very sick nation here if we can look at that and not cringe.

To many more to go over,... (Below threshold)
julie:

To many more to go over, but you get the picture, right?

Yeah, that you are clueless when it comes to appellate law. Greer's findings are just an opinion. It is the opinion of others, myself included, that the trial court erred in allowing Schiavo to remain as GAL in that there was a clear conflict of interest.

Also, just for your addled brain, the court found there was a clear conflict on interest for both parties, but that doesn't fit neatly into your little scenario, does it?

It has no bearing on the issue I am arguing in that someone else's conflict of interest is irrelevant to whether Schiavo had a conflict of interest and should have been removed as GAL. You really have difficulty focusing on the issues, don't you?

Oh, but wait, one of the things the appeals courts look at are abuses of discretion. Oops!

Oh, but wait, one of the things the appeals courts do not do is second guess the fact finder, in that they will defer to the fact finder on determinations of the weight and the credibility of the evidence. So, they are clearly not independent. Oops!

And to take someone else's life based on the fact finding of one man, while applying the lowest burden of proof, and then providing only limited appellate review is a due process violation.

Keep ranting though, it provides great comic relief here at the office . . .

You seem to ignore the fact that a great deal of the posters agree with me -- and I with them. And it's not me they are laughing at.

That troll remark must have stung too . . .

Oh, God, on top of being immature, you are nuts! lol!

You may notice, if you t... (Below threshold)
julie:

You may notice, if you take the blinders off that THIS WAS NOT A MURDER.

Well, YOU SURE AS HELL CAN'T CALL IT JUSTICE.

Oops, was I shouting?

Yes. But fortunately, justice can always be heard loudest.

Scott H:You charac... (Below threshold)

Scott H:

You characterize this issue as a Right v. Left problem, when clearly it was not. You may well make the same argument of how a lack of compromise might well completely halt any move to fix the Social Security problem, but this was obviously an issue that found many, many people feeling that it was cruel and unjust to allow this woman to starve.

I also wish you would do a little more investigation into the causes behind the War Between the States. The numbers of slaves in the South were in rapid decline, slavery as an institution was indeed disappearing. The Southern states seceded when they found themselves under what they deemed to be entirely too much Federal control, much more in the realm of taxation and trade than as that control applied to slavery. The slavery issue was simply something that was easy fodder to drum up support amongst the non-agricultural population centers of the North. After the secession, the U.S.A. took measures to attempt to dry up the C.S.A., and those measures are what ultimately led to violence.

And when your family considered themselves to be Virginians first and Americans second, they were echoing exactly what our Founding Fathers envisioned. A union of sovereign states consolidated into a federation united in order to "form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

Scott,I'd have to ... (Below threshold)

Scott,

I'd have to agree with you.

From an earlier study, it seems that we have split along personality/information processing lines and gaming strategy--a very deep rift. So we are of two camps which despise each other.

However, it appears that what was once called "liberalism" is self-destructing. If the GOP is able to keep its constituency and prove its good governance (big ifs), this situation should correct itself once the "liberal" movement is subcompetitive (it will need to reform itself).

Until then, this situation we have should get worse.

Julie, continuing her ra... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Julie, continuing her ranting . . .

Oh, but wait, one of the things the appeals courts do not do is second guess the fact finder, in that they will defer to the fact finder on determinations of the weight and the credibility of the evidence.

They don't second guess the fact finder, maybe, but many trial decisions have been overturned for abuse of discretion.

Because you continue this endless rant about it, obviously without knowing what the hell you are talking about, further proof is provided . . .

Abuse of discretion

The standard of review used by appellate courts to review decisions of lower courts. A judgment will be termed an abuse of discretion if the adjudicator has failed to exercise sound, reasonable, and legal decision-making skills. see, e.g. http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-us-cite?515%2B277 and http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-us-cite?522%2B136

OK, so now we have slapped you abuse of discretion argument around and you have been handed your head.

Jul's rants further. . .

You seem to ignore the fact that a great deal of the posters agree with me -- and I with them.

Like I give a hoot what the others here think. I may admire their thoughts and points. Others I find wasted and, such as your, ill informed.

Oh, but I get it now. Because some of the people here share your view, you think your right. I recall a few of those self same individuals telling us that polls are useless, I believe you were one of them. Since you appear to have conducted your own little poll, sort of slams that validity check.

Jeez. . . it is so easy to prove you wrong over and over again with facts, facts that are so simple to find. It really makes you look like a complete fool.

I wish I had more time for this, but it's Friday night and I don't want to spend it trying to fix a troll.

Have a nice night though.

They don't second guess ... (Below threshold)
julie:

They don't second guess the fact finder, maybe, but many trial decisions have been overturned for abuse of discretion.

They defer to the fact finder. Go ahead and say it! It is the legal standard and it was the SOR applied in this case.

And nice dodge – this isn't about other trial decisions – it is in this decision where they specifically state that they deferred to the fact finder on the determination of the weight and the credibility of the evidence.

Because you continue this endless rant about it, obviously without knowing what the hell you are talking about, further proof is provided . . .

Not only do I know what I am talking about – and you don't – I'm quoting from the damn opinion, you fool! You either never read it or you don't understand it - probably both.

The standard of review used by appellate courts to review decisions of lower courts.

Blah blah blah. I love it. You do a search on findlaw and you not only see yourself as an atty but an expert in appellate law. Do you realize how foolish you look? What's next? You going to get a Merck Manual and declare yourself a surgeon?

You do realize that abuse of discretion is the lowest standard of review, don't you? Of course, you don't. You've shot your argument in the foot. It is a burden extremely difficult to meet rarely because the appellate court defers to the findings of the fact finder like they did in this case! And once again, I and others, believe it is disgusting to kill someone based on the findings of one man.

OK, so now we have slapped you abuse of discretion argument around and you have been handed your head.

The only thing that gets slapped repeatedly is your head. Unfortunately, it has not improved your IQ.

Like I give a hoot what the others here think. I may admire their thoughts and points. Others I find wasted and, such as your, ill informed.

Of course, you do. You are trying to single me out as someone who holds an opinion that no one else holds. And isn't all of this about you getting your ego bitch-slapped?

Oh, but I get it now. Because some of the people here share your view, you think your right.

No, I know I'm right based on the law, legal principles, etc, something you clearly have no knowledge of.

I recall a few of those self same individuals telling us that polls are useless, I believe you were one of them. Since you appear to have conducted your own little poll, sort of slams that validity check.

Not at all, thanks for the analogy! By reading the questions asked in the poll, I and others, could determined the biases and how the questions were written to influence the outcome. By reading the opinions and actually understanding the law – something you apparently haven't done and can't do – I and others, actually have opinions based on valid legal principles. You're just a guy who grabs things off the internet you don't understand.

Jeez. . . it is so easy to prove you wrong over and over again with facts, facts that are so simple to find. It really makes you look like a complete fool.

Oh, yeah, right!

I wish I had more time for this, but it's Friday night and I don't want to spend it trying to fix a troll.

Remember, your parents want you home by 11 and back in the basement.

Julie, not able to get o... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Julie, not able to get out for the night, continued ranting . . .

And once again, I and others, believe it is disgusting to kill someone based on the findings of one man.

I rest my case. So as I have been saying all along, it is your opinion that he abused his discretion. Much of what you have posted is your opinion of the legal goings on. That is all.

You really must get out a little more there Jul's, maybe you will see things that expand your view of the world. It is pretty narrow right now.

Oh, BTW, no I'm not an atty, to use your "lingo." That doesn't mean I have no knowledge of the law. You make an awful lot of assumptions, but you know the derivative of that, right?

If you are an atty{that is so cute}, I hope for the poor souls of the state you practice in, it is criminal law. You are, obviously, quite lacking on the civil side of things.

Wish I had more time to "bitch slap" some more sense into you, but I'm wasting my time here. I believe I'll take my own advice, and retire from trolling you!

It has been fun though. It's a beautiful day here in SoCal, I'm of to enjoy it.

And once again, I and ot... (Below threshold)
julie:

And once again, I and others, believe it is disgusting to kill someone based on the findings of one man.

I rest my case.

Uh, you never had a case to rest.

So as I have been saying all along, it is your opinion that he abused his discretion. Much of what you have posted is your opinion of the legal goings on. That is all.

And your post is what? Opinion? Except your opinion is based on what? A few cases you pretended to read and that you can't comprehend?
By the way, court decisions are also “opinions.” Thanks again for proving you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.

You really must get out a little more there Jul's, maybe you will see things that expand your view of the world. It is pretty narrow right now.

Well one, unlike you, I'm not dependent on my parents letting me back into the house. I can come and go as I please anytime of day. Two, as opposed to you? Who is so deluded that you think you are an expert in everything? Maybe, you should get out and see a psychiatrist. I'm sure one could help your with your narcissistic personality..

Oh, BTW, no I'm not an atty, to use your "lingo."

BTW, it's an abbreviation. Sorry, it so perplexed you.

That doesn't mean I have no knowledge of the law.

You independently demonstrated you have no knowledge.

You make an awful lot of assumptions, but you know the derivative of that, right?

That you don't know what you are talking about is not an assumption. Therefore, the deriavative is that YOU are the ass.

If you are an atty {that is so cute}, . . .

Hmm, I never thought of abbreviations as being cute.

You are, obviously, quite lacking on the civil side of things.

Good! Because I surely wouldn't want to encourage your bad behavior by being civil to you.

Wish I had more time to "bitch slap" some more sense into you

Minus ten points for your lack of originality.

but I'm wasting my time here.

You wasted your time by pretending you knew what you were talking about because your ego is more important to you than any of the issues.

I believe I'll take my own advice, and retire from trolling you!

Nice to see you admit that you were the troll.

- The only law change requi... (Below threshold)

- The only law change required in this case would be the universal establishment of a law that states "provable adulterous behavior of any kind should immediately suspend rights of marraige for the offending party, which can only be reestablished by request of the offended spouse"... would solve a whole hell of a lot of problems and maybe even save a few marraiges.....




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