What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 22, 2005

Our Junior Senator Chimes in on Terri Schiavo

Senator Santorum has chimed in on the latest chapter of the Schiavo tragedy. We have Newsmax.com to thank for the partial transcript.

He's said that Judge Whittemore's ruling is, "judicial tyranny" and that "Congress passed a law that said that you had to look at this case. He simply thumbed his nose at Congress."

Senator Santorum also said, "What the statute that [Whittemore] was dealing with said was that he shall hold a trial de novo," the Pennsylvania Republican explained. "That means he has to hold a new trial. That's what the statute said."

"What he's saying is, 'I don't have to hold a new trial because I've already determined that her rights have been protected,'" Santorum said.

"That's nice for him to say that. But that's not what Congress told him to do," he added. "Judges should obey the law. And this judge - in my mind - simply ignored the law." [Emphasis added.]

Hmm...I didn't realize that a Federal Judge answers to Congress.

Maybe I should check a copy of the Constitution. Maybe Senator Santorum should read it, too.

I'm reading through Article I and there's nothing in there that gives the Congress the authority to "tell" a member of the judiciary what "to do" on anything.

Can anyone else find it?

And if it's not there, is anyone else nervous about the notion that one of the most powerful members of the Senate has little or no clue about the concept of "Separation of Powers"?

Here is the text of the statue. The important sentence (I think) is this one:
Section 2. Procedure. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings.

The "de novo" part is the tricky part. It means (again-I THINK) that the District Court is to ignore any and all previous State rulings and start fresh. If I am wrong on this (and you legal types, help me out here) please let me know.

In either case the Federal Judge denied the temporary restraining order on the grounds that:

it is essential that Plaintiffs establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, which the court finds they have not done.

I may be paraphrasing, but it seems that the reason there's no new trial is Judge Whittemore says there's no need for one.


Ol' Froth said...

You are correct on de novo. It essentially mean "new," as if all previous testimony and evidence haven't been presented, and no prior judgements rendered.

Same thing happens when you appeal a traffic ticket to Common Pleas.

Thomas said...

Is there a chance that Sen. Santorum can lose his next election?