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Congress, the Courts and the Terri Schiavo Case

Washington

Supporters of Congress's Schiavo legislation may be surprised when the federal court issues its ruling. The court could rule that the legislation is a bill of attainder, because it imposes punishment on an identifiable person, Michael Schiavo, with express punitive intent.

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The legislation may violate the equal protection clause, because it grants federal review in this case while denying similar review to all other similar litigants.

It may violate separation of powers because it constitutes congressional interference with a judicial order that the Supreme Court has left standing.

It may contravene our federal system, because state courts should be supreme when interpreting their own state law.

Finally, the only federal claim would be denial of due process, but this may fail because any honest court would have to rule that the Florida courts have accorded full procedural and substantive due process in this case.

VINCE TREACY

Washington


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