Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sacrificing Truth for the Sake of Legal Positivism

Here's another good piece from Catholic Analysis, although I don't pin the issue necessarily on a flaw in Florida's guardianship laws. One of the fundamental problems with the Schiavo scandal (yes, it's a scandal) is the emphasis on process, rather than the truth. This is the danger of legal positivism. The courts have determined as fact that Terri would have wanted to have her feeding tube pulled, when however, at best, she expressed contradictory views on separate occassions. The courts have also determined as fact that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" despite sworn testimony from her nurses that she could say words like "Mommy" and "pain," public video showing her responding to stimulus, false claims on what can be concluded from a CAT scan (the liquified brain bit), contradictory conclusions by experts (including the latest from the Mayo Clinic), and so on. Oswald Sobrino sums it up well:
It is a stunning moment. The United States is on the verge of completing the legally-sanctioned murder by starvation of an innocent person... It is inane, irrational, barbaric, and primitive. If this unnecessary sacrifice on the altar of legal technicalities goes forward, we should all shudder for our country.

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