Thursday, April 21, 2005

Senator Levin (or at least his office) responds to my email about Terri

Dear Ms. Petricko:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the case of Theresa Schiavo.

As you may know, on March 20, 2005, the Senate passed a private bill for
the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo (P.L.109-3). This
bill was subsequently passed by the House of Representatives and signed
by the President on March 21, 2005. P.L.109-3 gives the parents of
Theresa Schiavo standing to bring their case in federal court.

These matters have been traditionally within the jurisdiction of state
courts. In this case, state courts in Florida have repeatedly ruled that
Theresa Schiavo’s feeding tube be removed in accordance with her wishes,
as determined by the evidence before the court and the wishes of her
husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo. Over the course of twelve
years, courts in Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court have refused to
overturn that original decision.

I believe it was unwise for the U.S. Congress to intervene in this
deeply personal matter. It is the responsibility of state courts to make
difficult determinations in these matters and that is what the state
courts in Florida have done. While I opposed the overall intent of
P.L.109-3, I worked in a bipartisan manner to improve the legislation
that was ultimately signed into law by the President. During Senate
consideration of an earlier version of the bill, I objected to a
provision in the bill that would have required a federal court to issue
a stay in response to an appeal by Theresa Schiavo’s parents. This
provision was later struck from the bill. Prior to Senate passage of
P.L.109-3, I entered into a colloquy with Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist (R-TN) to make clear that the bill does not in any way restrict
the discretion of the federal court and takes no position on whether the
court should take any action in considering the Theresa Schiavo case,
including whether it should issue a stay. The colloquy was later cited
by the 11th Circuit Court in its decision denying a stay in this case.
The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently rejected the appeal. The full text
of this colloquy and other statements I made with regard to P.L.109-3
can be found on my website at

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you again for contacting me.

Carl Levin


Janette said...

Helpful? No Senator, since it's attitudes like yours that let a woman die I don't consider that helpful at all.



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