[Paleopsych] Online News Hour: Shields and Brooks Analyze the Terri Schiavo Case

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Online NewsHour: Shields and Brooks Analyze the Terri Schiavo Case and
the Nomination of Paul Wolfowitz -- March 18, 2005
[Only the Schiavo case is included.]

                    a NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript

     Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David
    Brooks discuss the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as the new World Bank
      president, the Terri Schiavo case and baseball's steroid problem.

       Jim Lehrer JIM LEHRER: And to the analysis of Shields & Brooks,
      syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David

     Mark, is this the kind of business the Congress of the United States
                            should be involved in?

     MARK SHIELDS: Not this case, Jim, but I think it's a serious enough
      public question that there ought to be debate and consideration as
      just to what - you know, what guidelines we have so that each case
     doesn't become a circus like this. I mean, we're seeing a total role
                             reversal right now.

        We're seeing conservatives saying "we got to go to the federal
     courts." They've been attributing -- the champions of states rights.
    The liberals have always fought for the federal intervention and have
             said "No, we ought to leave it to the state court."

      I think there are serious ethical questions here. Is this medical
     intervention, or is it ordinary treatment? And you get ethicists on
    both sides of all faiths on that. But if there's one thing that comes
      through in this, boy, it's every one of us ought to have explicit
     directives for end-of-life treatment for when and if this happens, I
    mean, because the tragedy of this is just in human terms, is enormous.

    JIM LEHRER: But what about the political intervention here, David? Do
      you support what the Republican leaders of the Congress are doing?

    DAVID BROOKS: I find myself in complete agreement with what Mark just
        said. On a case by case basis, I'm a little uncomfortable with
     Congress going in case by case. But I am supportive of the idea that
      these life and death issues should be settled politically and not
                      Judicial or political intervention

     David Brooks JIM LEHRER: In other words, the judge in Florida should
    not be resolving this; there should be a federal law of some kind that
                             would resolve this?

        DAVID BROOKS: Right. And I would say building off the abortion
     example, I mean, I personally believe if we had settled the abortion
      issue politically rather than judicially, we would have arrived at
       some sort of muddled solution, which was not either or and most
     Americans would be happy with it. And most Americans would regard it
    as a little more legitimate. And just people would feel happy with the
    law. And as with that birth issue, I think the same thing is true with
                              this death issue.

     JIM LEHRER: But, David, this issue involving Terri Schiavo has been
     going on for seven years and Congress did nothing until issuing some
                               subpoenas today.

       DAVID BROOKS: That's right. And there's an element of political
    grandstanding. But there's also an element of sincere belief. I mean,
      I'm personally sort of in the middle on this issue. I'm muddled. I
       confess I haven't really come to conclusions about this subject.

        But I do, just thinking about it, why does there seem to be a
       presumption toward the death option when the woman's parents are
      willing to take care of her? Why can't we have a law that says the
       presumption is toward life unless you sign something and there's
    something very concrete that's definable in a court of law saying "No,
         I don't want these measures taken?" To me there should be a
    presumption toward life but everyone have the right to sign something,
                       which makes it very cut and dry.

        Mark Shields MARK SHIELDS: Jim, one thing, David used the term
      "grandstanding," which I think was probably kind. I went back and
    checked the files; Tom Delay had not spoken on this issue -- the House
     Republican Majority Leader, until Wednesday of this week. I mean, I
               think it's a great diversionary tactic for him.

      I don't think there's any question he identifies himself with Palm
    Sunday, that there are people of deep religious conviction who believe
        that this is totally wrong and that somehow he wants to divert
     attention. I don't think there's any question about it. And the idea
                of subpoenaing Terri Schiavo is a grandstand.

        But the issue remains, and I think David is right, a political
      resolution of the abortion issue would have resolved that. We were
     headed toward that on a state-by-state basis. Some states were going
     to legalize it under certain terms, others were going to legalize it
     totally in New York, and then we short circuited it by going to the
                 courts. And I think this is a mistake here.

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