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Feds intervene in Schiavo case

Via Howard Bashman, this ABC poll tells us that most folks, even evangelical protestants who split down the middle on the question of removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, oppose federal intervention in the case.

It might look like these numbers will prove Tom DeLay's grandstanding to be a political blunder. On the other hand, the poll doesn't measure the intensity of people's preferences, nor does it tell us how people will respond to these politicians' inevitable campaign rhetoric portraying themselves as "defenders of the culture of life."

Seems to me, this kind of rhetoric will be a lot more powerful on the campaign trail than the "I stood up against the inappropriate interference by Congress into issues which were none of its business" rhetoric.

The whole thing gets me thinking about federalism generally, and about the question of which entity should police the boundary between the states and the feds. The Schiavo case makes a strong argument that Congress isn't the best institution in cases like this. In order to pander to a few zealots on a particular substantive issue, the Schiavo case suggests that Congress will not act thoughtfully and deliberately to give voice to the less zealous but more widely-held opinions about the appropriate division of federal and state responsibility.

Anyhow, I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of thoughtful commentary on this issue soon.


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