A few days after her murder commenced, I lost hope, and said so in Goodbye, Terri. The reasons why are made plain in the article. The Law - is it dead yet? is an inconclusive rumination on the relationship between legality and morality.
After it was all over (the Pope, too, having finished his course), I said my last goodbyes.
Others held up their end as well. I came across three letters from three ladies responding to a post-murder article in First Things entitled "The Legal Death of Terri Schiavo," by Robert Miller, in which we were assured that all had proceeded according to law. The result was unfortunate, but the fault was ours, or the Culture of Death, or something, not that of the courts. They simply ruled on the laws in place, which were put there by someone else. As I was reading the ladies' letters, I thought, "These gals are sharp. I like'em." And one of them turned out to be Lydia McGrew of Right Reason and my partner at the now defunct Enchiridion Militis. (You'll have to scroll to the bottom to read these letters and Miller's response.) Lydia makes an extremely cogent point toward the end of hers about judicial activism, contra Miller's claim that the legal proceedings, especially on the federal level, did not involve such activism, and I think his response to her is weak.
One of the other ladies observes that
Apparently none of them [the judges] found it unconscionable that Schiavo should be put to death in this manner. Could they not have followed the voice of conscience that so many other judges claim to hear when they override laws passed by the representatives of the people, as activist judges have been doing for the past thirty years?to which Miller responds in part:
In a case like Terri Schiavo’s, the temptation to ignore the law is strong, but we need to keep our heads and remember that the fundamental principles of our system of government serve very large interests, interests larger even than the life or death of a single individual. This, incidentally, is why men have been willing to die for these principles.This is a tacit admission that the separation of powers is more important in principle than preventing the murder of a single individual. We musn't lower ourselves to the other side's tactics. They may lose their heads, but we must keep ours. This was the same line taken by a shorter, less legalistically precise offering in Touchstone in July of that year, the claim that judicial activism to save Terri would have been morally equivalent to the kind that gave us Roe v. Wade, to which I responded with a letter of outrage. It was published, but is not available online, and I've never posted it here. Maybe I should. We'll see how I feel in a few days.
Could they not have followed the voice of conscience? That lady's question still awaits an answer. Yes ma'am, they could have. But first you've got to have one to follow, or, if you do, the guts to act on it. Which means you'd have to be 'willing to die for a principle', and I didn't see any evidence of it during the time of testing.