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March 23, 2005

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These... Whatever-They-Ares?

At TAPPED, Jeffrey Dubner quotes Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on his Schiavo bill:

TAPPED: March 2005 Archives: Mr. FRIST: Nothing in the current bill or its legislative history mandates a stay. I would assume, however, the Federal court would grant a stay based on the facts of this case because Mrs. Schiavo would need to be alive in order for the court to make its determination. Nevertheless, this bill does not change current law under which a stay is discretionary...

It's hard to tell if Frist was indicating a willingness to accept a court decision not to grant a stay, or indicating that he didn't think there was any question about it. If the latter, it just goes to show how little some of these Republicans appreciate how the law works in this country. They're like little kids taking sledgehammers to a jungle gym because it wasn't actually a rocketship.

Does Bill Frist have no lawyers on his staff--or in the Republican Senate Caucus--to listen to when they told him that a stay requires that the plaintiffs show a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case, and that given the inherent weakness of the federal deprivation-of-constitutional-rights claims the federal judge would probably not issue a stay? Is he a fool? Or did he know full well that the bill he was passing would probably have no effect on Ms. Schiavo's case? Is he a devious S.O.B.?

I think the first...

Posted by DeLong at March 23, 2005 01:12 PM