DeLay Seeks Congressional Review of Schiavo Case
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who denounced judges involved in the court battle over Terri Schiavo, said on Wednesday he has requested a congressional review of the brain-damaged woman’s “right-to-die” case.
The House Judiciary Committee could seek to impeach those judges, but that seems highly unlikely as even many of DeLay’s fellow Republicans have voiced opposition to that option.
DeLay, a Texas Republican, declined to say if he believed any of the judges should be impeached but told his weekly news conference, “I’ve asked the Judiciary Committee to look at the case and the actions of the federal judiciary and make their recommendations.”
Recommendations could include legislation on the jurisdiction of federal courts in “right-to-die” cases or, as a likely first step, a hearing on how the courts handled Schiavo. The Florida woman, who suffered severe brain damage 15 years ago, died last month following the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube amid a bitter family dispute.
Several federal courts refused to intervene despite legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush authorizing them to do so.
The House also passed a broader bill, championed by Judiciary chairman James Sensenbrenner, granting federal courts a role in other end-of-life cases, but the Senate rejected the approach of the Wisconsin Republican. Congress settled on a narrowly crafted compromise focusing only on Schiavo.
Shortly after her death, DeLay vowed: “We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew.
“The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,” DeLay said.
DeLay’s remarks drew a mixed response, with many condemning him and others saying the courts needed to be reined in.
On Wednesday, DeLay appeared to address the criticism, saying, “Of course, I believe in an independent judiciary.
“I also recognize, however, that Congress has constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities over the judiciary,” DeLay added.
“The Schiavo case is highly emotional,” said a Republican lawmaker on the Judiciary Committee who asked not to be named. He said he did not expect the committee to try to impeach any of the judges, but believed hearings would be held “so we could all obtain and exchange more information.”
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican who helped DeLay push the Schiavo legislation, said he believed the courts “acted in a fair and independent way.”
The Schiavo case increased a political storm around DeLay, who has faced questions for weeks about foreign trips funded by outside groups and other ethics-related matters.
DeLay, who has denied any wrongdoing, declined to take any questions at his news conference on the subject, dismissing it as part of a partisan attack by Democrats and their allies.
In Las Vegas, the president of the newly formed United Steelworkers union—a merger between the United Steelworkers of America and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union—said its top political objective is to unseat DeLay in next year’s elections.
“Kick Tom DeLay’s ass out,” said Leo Gerard, casting the Texas Republican as a foe of organized labor.
Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, head of the House Republican campaign committee, scoffed at efforts to oust DeLay, saying, “Nothing gives Tom DeLay more strength than a situation where Democrats are foaming at the mouth to defeat him.”
I guess that DeLay is ignoring the polls which indicate the majority of Americans disapprove of the actions of the Bushes and Congress in the Schaivo case. But I suspect that as a “Christian soldier” he really doesn’t care. This should only serve to further cook his goose with the American public. I find his actions to be an outrageous intrusion into the courts by the legistature but I suspected that there would be some retribution coming against the federal judges who ruled courageously (my opinion) in accordance with the law.