Tuesday, March 22, 2005


The Bee weighs in on the Terri Schiavo debate in an editorial today and their conclusion is this: Republicans bad, Matsui good.

The Bee criticizes Bush and Republicans for "political grandstanding" and ignoring the urgency of, ironically, Medicare costs and instead choosing to "meddle" in the affairs of a "divided family." The Bee finds it "stunning" that Republicans have compromised their supposed devotion to "states' rights and judicial independence."

The Senate voted for the bill by a voice vote. This means not a single member of the Senate objected. The House passed the Bill by a vote of 203-58. There are 435 members in the House, so over 150 members did not vote. According to one article, the nay votes only accouted for about half of the Democrats who did vote. The Bee saves its wrath for Republicans. Big surprise.

As the Wall Street Journal recently noted:

It is not simply about "states' rights." Conservatives support states' rights in areas that are not delegated to the federal government but they also support federal power in areas that are delegated.

Ann Althouse had this to say about the federalism issue:

Surely, many of those who oppose what Congress did in the Schiavo case do generally approve of intruding on the state to impose a higher standard of individual rights – including the rights for the disabled. They would not normally stand back and allow the states to innovate and experiment with the narrowing of individual rights. Certain matters have traditionally belonged to the states, but there is a long modern trend of re-visualizing these matters in terms of the rights of the individual. Whether one agrees with the conception of rights reflected in Congress's Schiavo law, one should not deny that Congress has an important, well-established role enforcing the rights of the individual and displacing choices made at the state level. And who does deny this role? The disagreement is about what rights are, not what federalism is.

Another good discussion on the federalism issue by a law professor can be found here. The U.S. Supreme Court case Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health involved similar facts and the court held that the federal courts can intervene in such matters. (Abstract here)

It is amusing that the Bee was "stunned" by the Republicans' supposedly hypocrisy on federalism. This implies that the issue is so very simple for the Bee. Well, the issue of federalism is far from simple. I have discussed the Bee's analysis on legal issues before here and here. The Bee is far from having, well, a competent understanding of legal issues. But hey, if it gives you a chance to chide Republicans why not come out in favor of federalism.


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