Friday, March 25, 2005

Jeb Bush - Doing The Right Thing

Florida Governor Jeb Bush deserves much credit--and an apology--from the Schindler family and their advisors. The Governor has spent a good deal of his political capital in the past few years on the battle for Terri Schiavo's life, to the point that he has pushed the Florida state legislature to pass laws for her protection, and filed suit to intervene to protect her. But the family accused him of "blinking" after he lost the court fight to intervene on Terri Schiavo's behalf. They want him to exceed his powers under the law, and force a physical confrontation between State Police and Sheriffs over Terri's custody. Their spiritual advisor, Brother Paul O'Donnell said as much this morning on Fox & Friends.

The Governor should do nothing of the sort.

We live in a government of laws. And sometimes we get results we don't like. We can appeal them. We can petition government to change the laws. We can speak our mind about what we perceive to be outrages. But what we can't do is violate the law when we don't like it. When government officials overstep their constitutional and statutory mandate, we move from limited government to tyranny. The judicial overreach that we have seen in this case has been repugnant, but it is not cured by retaliatory abuses of power.

We witnessed an overextension of executive power at the hands of Bill Clinton and Janet Reno in Florida with Elian Gonzalez. He was returned back to his native Cuba, in violation of U.S. law granting Cubans asylum in this nation, so that he could be separated from the father who loved him to be indoctrinated in the ways of Che Guevara by the Castro government. We also witnessed something similar in Waco, Texas in 1993 when Janet Reno's stormtroopers invaded the Branch Davidian compound, burning the place and the people to a crisp. There was nothing redeemable about the place or its leader, but it was not Reno's duty to doom the people inside to a fiery death because they defied her. Executive power is a mighty thing, and it is a terrible thing when abused.

And the same goes for judicial power. Judge Greer paid no attention to the evidence that he didn't want to hear. The higher courts apparently unwilling to get involved in a moral controversy took the easy way out and couched his bias as the court's prerogative to weigh and believe the evidence that it will. There are appropriate avenues for dealing with renegade judges, such as impeachment, and we should not hesitate to use them as judges should be held to account for overstepping their powers.

But the law exists to limit the powers which the state may want to exercise. While the emotions are running quite high in this case, Governor Bush must allow a cooler head to prevail. His duty lies before him, and it may be best carried out by doing nothing more.

Because the strength of the right to life movement is the willingness of the people to obey the law. Our opponents don't do that. We cannot sink to their level if we expect to retain any legitimacy.


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